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
Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute
Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine