Geologists See Earth in New 'Anthropocene Age'

Humanity's footprint on the planet marks whole new game
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2008 4:17 AM CST
Geologists See Earth in New 'Anthropocene Age'
The Holocene geological era began aroun 12,000 years ago and can be marked by evidence of meltwater lakes and gravel ridges left when the glaciers retreated at the end of the last ice age.   ((c) anticline)

(Newser) – Humanity's impact on the planet over the last 200 years has been so vast that geologists are proposing to label it the start of a new geological era, Canada.com reports. Textbooks label these times as the Holocene era, which began 12,000 years ago, but scientists argue that carbon pollution, urbanization, nuclear fallout and other traces of human existence should mark the start of a  new epoch.

"We are now living in a new time period when the human modification of the system is so great that we need some way of recognizing that," said a member of a growing group of geologists calling for the present era to be labeled the "Anthropocene age." He said geologists could date it from carbon dioxide deposits—or the lingering radioactivity from the first nuclear tests. (Read more geology stories.)

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