Humans have ushered in a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene, according to a panel of scientists. Scientists are now working on defining when it started and what geological feature best describes its initiation.
The ‘Age of man’ reveals how humanmankind has the dominant influence on Earth. This quest for a so-called ‘golden spike’ may include the Hydrogen bomb tests of the 50s or the increase of burning fossil fuels.Professor Jan Zalasiewicz, of the University of Leicester, chaired the panel of experts on the issue; ‘The Anthropocene works as a geological unit of time, process and strata,’ said Professor Zalasiewicz, ‘it is distinguishable.
It is distinctive.’Experts will discuss what further action is required in order to find a ‘golden spike’ – a clear indicator of the Anthropocene in the geological record.
This clear marker the researchers are searching for is technically called a Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) and the future of the Anthropocene hinges on its discovery.
The 34-member Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) will now build a proposal to put forward to the International Commission on Stratigraphy in 2021, which oversees the official geologic time chart.Scientists refer to the period starting from 1950 as the ‘Great Acceleration’ due to the explosion in various factors associated with humans.
A leading explanation focuses on the hydrogen bomb tests off the 1950s and claims this will provide the best marker for the Anthropocene’s birth.
Others suggest the best sign of human-activity shaping the world will be fossil fuel remnants or plastics. One of the main culprits is global warming driven by the burning of fossil fuels.