A scientific group recommended the introduction of Anthropocene in the Geological Time Scale. The proposal is justified by the fact that humanity manages to impact the Earth on a major basis.
The concept of Anthropocene was introduced in the year 2000 and became widely accepted in the scientific community. The group of researchers made the proposal during the 35th International Geological Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.
In case the recommendation is accepted, the scientists will have to decide when the new era began. The decision will be taken based on rock records.
One example of clear delimitation in the sediment layers is the golden spike that happened after the dinosaur extinction. The event occurred 65 million years ago, and the scientists discovered iridium in the rocks taken from all over the Earth, indicating the same period. Iridium was connected to an asteroid strike, and the line was considered to signal the end of Cretaceous.
The scientists are now searching for a golden spike to mark the beginning of the Anthropocene. Even though the idea is still controversial, the majority of the researchers believe that the age started in the 1950s. The moment would indicate the intensification of the impact humans has on the environment on a global level.
Another option would be to consider the start of the Anthropocene to be the nuclear bomb testing. This would put the beginning of the new geological age to be in the late 1940s. The event would make radioactive elements be dispersed all over the globe, which could have produced modifications in the rock layers.
Other indicators for the beginning of the Age of Humans would be the plastic pollution, the particles of concrete and aluminum, the levels of phosphate and nitrogen, and the soot released by power stations. All these elements could have left a trail in the soil, which might later transform into a new geological layer.
The current geological period, the Holocene, started after the major Ice Age. The period is marked by the beginning of the complex human civilization. Its name contains the word holo, which in Greek means whole.
Other scientists think that the Holocene can include the recent impact humans have on the environment and declaring a new era is obsolete.
The group of researchers will continue the discussions. After all the details are decided upon, the group will begin the procedure to obtain a formal recognition of the new Age of Humans.
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