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
Atmospheric scientists reveal the effect of sea-ice loss on Arctic warming
11.03.2019 | Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
11.03.2019 | University of Tokyo
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...
New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum
For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...
Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock
Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...
Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.03.2019 | Life Sciences
19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy