Humans have had a major impact on the planet’s geology
(Mirror Daily, United States) – It appears that human impact launched a new geological epoch that might soon be officially recognized as a significant part of our planet’s history. The world has been affected by our presence, so much that traces have dug deep into its roots. It seems inevitable that human impact would bring on a new era.
A team of international researchers, led by Colin Waters of the British Geological Survey, claims that the planet has entered a new epoch. It moved on from the Holocene era, that is believed to have started 11,700 years ago. It marked the beginning of human civilization and its promising development. However, humanity has had further impact since then.
That is why, the Anthropocene Working Group believe that we have moved on into a new era, the Anthropocene Epoch. It will be marked by the human impact on our world, specifically the modern remains that have now become part of the earth itself. This includes plastic, concrete, and remains of nuclear activity that have sunk into our planet’s making.
This impacting signature is stamped upon Earth, and it’s believed that it should be recognized as a new geological unit. It’s iconic for its addition of materials such as aluminum and other man-made fabrics, along with climate change, extinction of species, and the reshaping of coastal sedimentation. Essentially, it appears to further emphasize our negative impact upon the planet.
While it may not sound good, it’s still a reality that the researchers want to draw attention to. According to the team, humans are leaving a “pervasive and persistent signature on Earth”, and becoming geological agents. Thus, the name, Anthropocene Epoch, derived from “anthropos” meaning “man” in Greek.
The impact of humanity is clear, though opinions differ on when this new era actually started. The majority of researchers believe this to have begun at one point in the middle of the 20th century, along with nuclear experimentations, post-war mining, industry development, and farming. These fields, along with the creation of several materials, have shaped the geological history of our planet.
Some believe the Anthropocene Epoch started in the 18th century, with Europe’s Industrial Revolution. Others date it to the 17th century with the spread of colonialism, and some believe it started even further back, thousands of years ago with the spread of agriculture. The new era is still missing its exact starting point, but more research will be conducted in 2016.
Pending approval from the International Commission for Stratigraphy in September, it may be that we will be getting a new name for this epoch, the era of human impact.
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