TORONTO (AP/RTR) — A group of international scientists said they have found evidence that the “anthropocene,” the geological age of man, has begun. Researchers in the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) regard the 1950s as the starting point for the period when changes in Earth’s climate and environment were primarily driven by human activity.
Scientists have researched soils all over the world, but it was in a Canadian lake that they saw the strongest evidence of the beginning of the Anthropocene, which is derived from the ancient Greek word anthropos: man. Plutonium was found in the deposits of Lake Crawford near Toronto. That will come from testing with guns from the 1950s. According to the AWG, fossil fuel use increased dramatically over that period and land use changed due to synthetic fertilizers, for example. All this will be reflected in the geology of the past 70 years.
The history of our planet is divided into geological periods. Officially, we are still in the Holocene, because the Anthropocene is not recognized by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). The Holocene is now 11,700 years old, since the end of the last ice age. The periods before that lasted for millions of years.
Scientists want to submit their evidence to the ICS so that the Anthropocene can become an official epoch. According to the AWG, a lot has changed in our soils, but also in biodiversity, for example, we are no longer living in the Holocene. Their researchers see the year 1950 as a starting point, and other scholars sometimes point to the industrial revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as a geological turning point.
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