Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Man's impact on the planet brings about new epoch in earth's history

01.02.2008
Geologists from the University of Portsmouth are proposing that humankind has so changed the earth that it has brought about an end to one epoch of earth’s history and marked the start of another.

They believe that human dominance has so physically altered the earth that the Holocene epoch has ended and we have entered a new epoch - the Anthropocene.

Dr Andrew Gale of the University of Portsmouth and his colleagues on the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London identified the major causes of human impact on the planet and discovered that the last 200 years had caused more impact then previously understood.

They examined phenomena such as changes in the patterns of sediment erosion and deposition, major disturbances to the carbon cycle and global temperature, ocean acidification and wholesale changes to the world’s plants and animals.

“Human activity has become the number one driver of most of the major changes in Earth's topography and climate, said Dr Gale. “You can’t have 6.5 billion people living on a planet the size of ours and exploiting every possible resource without creating huge changes in the physical, chemical and biological environment which will be reflected dramatically in our geological record of the planet.”

The researchers examined the stratigraphic layers in the earth’s geological record which reflect the conditions of the time it was deposited. They painstakingly pieced together years of geologic history to offer a glimpse into earth's past.

The geologists found numerous examples of mankind’s effect on the planet, such as tiny particles of plastic in our sand which they say could easily get into the food chain. By examining the earth’s strata they were even able to identify the start of atomic testing in the 1950s.

Dr Gale said: “The impact in the last 200 years is such that there is increasingly less justification for linking pre- and post-industrialized Earth within the same epoch.”

The research scientists presented their research in the journal GSA Today in which they say that their findings present the scholarly groundwork for consideration by the International Commission on Stratigraphy for formal adoption of the Anthropocene as the youngest epoch of, and most recent addition to, the earth's geological timescale.

The argument has merit, says geologist Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University in State College. "In land, water, air, ice, and ecosystems, the human impact is clear, large, and growing," he says. "A geologist from the far distant future almost surely would draw a new line, and begin using a new name, where and when our impacts show up."

Lisa Egan | alfa
Further information:
http://www.geosociety.org/
http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/academic/sees/staff/title,63666,en.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered
18.01.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht A close-up look at an uncommon underwater eruption
11.01.2018 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>