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 Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction
26.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds
25.07.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>