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In 2024, we could officially enter the Anthropocene

In 2024, we could officially enter the Anthropocene

By the middle of the new year, which will begin in a matter of days, it may be decided whether humanity's impact on its home planet has been sufficient to introduce a new geohistoric end-technology – He writes the new World.

Qubit previously reported in detail that the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), an international multidisciplinary organization created in 2009, in July this year at Lake Crawford, Canada Proposed its sedimentary sequence To record the beginning of the geological epoch that replaced the Holocene from the mid-20th century.


Crawford Lake, Canada

Image: Wikipedia

News of the replacement of the Holocene epoch, which began 11,700 years ago, has also divided the scientific public, but not only because the Anthropocene has not yet been officially ratified by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), which has an official mandate for this, – Read in the journal Scientific article issued on December 26.

According to New Scientist magazine, Earl Ellis, a professor of ecology at the University of Maryland, who is considered an authority in the field, resigned from the AWG membership after the announcement six months ago, but Philip Gibbard, a professor of paleogeology at the University of Cambridge, who remains a member of the board of directors. , and does not agree with the changing era, because according to him, the end of the Holocene is not signaled by the sharp caesar dated 1950, and the Anthropocene should not be defined as a geological epoch, but as an ongoing event.

Colin Waters, a geologist at the University of Leicester and a founding member of the ad hoc working group, responds to this argument by saying that humans have of course been impacting the planet since the beginning of the Holocene, but “there have been significant changes consistently since 1950”. “.

AWG member Simon Turner, a professor at University College London, told New Scientist that at the end of October this year, the working group submitted a formal proposal on the Anthropocene to the relevant subcommittee of the International Union of Geological Sciences – called Quaternary stratigraphy – and if they left their proposal on changing The established era, and then, through a scheduled two-round voting procedure, the broader geoscientific community also gives its blessing to the new era, and then as of August 2024, the period that began in 1950 will be officially designated as the Anthropocene on the geologic time scale.

Currently valid geohistorical time scale


Currently valid geohistorical time scale


Geological Society of America

According to Turner, all of this points to the realization that the world might be very different if we didn't burn as much fossil fuel as we have in the past 70 years. However, if the proposal does not pass, we will be ignoring the devastating human impact of the past decades, which Turner says is “like saying climate change doesn't exist.”

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