A working group of scientists has officially declared the current epoch as ‘Anthropocene Epoch’.
- The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) that consists have 34 members have undertaken a vote to designate Anthropocene epoch.
- The vote went 29-4 in favor of the declaration.
- It is now an end to the Holocene Epoch.
- As per the scientists, the epoch began around 11,700 years ago.
- AWG is now planning to submit a formal proposal to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which is the official keeper of geological time charts.
- The new epoch shows how the activities of humans have shaped the earth.
- Previously, an informal vote to declare Anthropocene Epoch was taken at the International Geological Congress in 2016.
- The term was coined by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000.
- The term denotes the geological time scale where human activity has drastically altered the various processes and conditions on the earth.
- As per the AWG, the phenomena associated with Anthropocene include:
- Increase in the magnitude of erosion
- Sediment transportation associated with urbanisation and agriculture
- Abrupt and marked changes in the carbon cycle of the Earth and the associated environmental changes – global warming, rising sea-level, ocean acidification, and rapid changes in the biosphere.
- The proliferation of new minerals in the atmosphere such as concrete, fly ash, plastics, etc.
- The proliferation of myriad technofossils and other materials.
The Golden Spike
- Scientists are now focussing on the Golden Spike or geologic marker that points to the beginning of Anthropocene Epoch.
- The AWG believes that the radionuclides that spread across the world due to nuclear explosions in 1950 as the golden spike.
- These nuclides are now present everywhere across the world from marine sediments to stalagmites and stalactites.
The Final Ratification
- When the formal proposal for Anthropocene Epoch is submitted to International Commission on Stratigraphy, several other groups within the Commission will take up voting.
- The executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences will take up the final ratification of the proposal to officially enter the new Epoch into the Geologic Time Chart.
The change in the name of the Epoch is both scientifically proven and symbolically necessary to make people understand the humanities impact on the earth and take steps to keep the planet from falling apart.
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