The Anthropocene Epoch


I heard an interesting interview on NPR while driving home today. Some scientists are arguing that we are entering a new geological epoch, characterized by human impact on the planet. The proposed name is the Anthropocene Epoch. The last 12,000 years have been classified as the Holocene Epoch.

The scientists interviewed gave some examples of how human actions were recorded geologically. With the widespread cultivation of arable lands, fossil records will show the shift from grasslands and forests to farm fields. Rising ocean temperature and acidity may threaten coral activity, which would also be noticeable in fossil records. Development has drastically changed the ways in which sediments are moved and deposited.

I’m not really writing this with any strong opinion, though some of the changes are clearly problematic. It’s just strange to think that the actions of our species will be recorded in the very geology of our planet. We’ve come a long way (for mostly-hairless monkeys).


Check the interview here.


One Response to “The Anthropocene Epoch”

  1. Andrew Martz on August 26th, 2008 7:45 pm

    Hi Mike how have you been. I saw your parents at st. joseph parish center for Fr. Ruben going away party. They told me that you are teaching english in korea. So how do you like korea what is it like, and what age group are you teaching?
    We start school next week and i am not looking forward to go. this year i am going to be a Jounior.
    hope to hear from you soon.

    Senincerely, Andrew Martz


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