Home Science Anthropocene Epoch: In 1610, fundamental change between humans and Earth system relationship

Anthropocene Epoch: In 1610, fundamental change between humans and Earth system relationship

Scientists have been working to convince people that the human race isn’t the center of the universe, for centuries. The job was not an easy one; you’ll surely have an idea if you know about Galileo and his life.

In a recent development, a team of geologists have started to work with the aim of reversing the above-mentioned trend. According to them, humans are not mere blips when their significance in the universe is considered. They said that humans have a profound influence on the planetary scale.

In a study published in the widely read science journal Nature, two geologists making the above claims said that it’s necessary to establish a fresh geological epoch called the Anthropocene. They suggested that the start date should either be 1964 or 1610.

The two authors of the said study Mark Maslin and Simon Lewis wrote that geological stratigraphic records will have footprints on different human activities for the coming hundreds of thousands of years. According to them, this very fact testifies the beginning of a new epoch.

Scientists started to classify earth’s history into different stages almost since the early 1800s. However, at that time, geology was nothing more than a topic of discussion at high-end London dinners. Then, as time passed by, people started to take the subject more seriously, and geological surveys started to take place in different parts of the globe.

William Smith, a mining surveyor, for instance, recently said that the stripes we see on different rock varieties in canyons, outcroppings and mountains might be representatives of different geological era. This study of eras through stripes found on rocks is now called stratigraphy.

Most recent stratigraphy suggests that we are in an epoch called Holocene that began more than 11,700 years back i.e. when the last Ice Age came to an end. That era saw the last most significant global environmental change.


Some stratigraphers, however, don’t agree with the above-mentioned view. We have witnessed stratigraphers arguing that Earth, since the year 2000, has undergone a specific kind of global change that can be characterized as the beginning of a new epoch.

Such shifts usually take place due to major changes in the atmosphere, asteroid impacts, continental movements, and so on; however, geologists are saying that the beginning of the new epoch, which they are referring to as Anthropocene, is caused by human activities. This clearly shows that trend has changed as far as change in epochs is concerned.

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