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News Picks : New geologic epoch proposed to represent humans’ influence on Earth

By: Physics Today
08 January 2016
Smithsonian: Because of the many ways in which humans are altering Earth, researchers are proposing the creation of a new geologic epoch to succeed the Holocene, called the Anthropocene. In a paper published in Science, Colin Waters of the British Geological Survey and colleagues note that the planet’s stratigraphic signature has been significantly affected by a number of human activities, including the spread of agriculture and deforestation, the transferring of species from one continent to another, the Industrial Revolution, and the accelerated population growth in the 20th century. However, they propose that it was really the start of the nuclear age, around 1950, that the Age of Humans officially began. Not only would the designation of a new epoch be scientifically important, Waters and colleagues say, but it might also get people to think about what they are doing to the planet and motivate them to alter certain activities.

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