Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holocene vs. Anthropocene?

The most recent issue of Science News (available today in the library) briefly discusses the current debate: should the current Holocene epoch end and an Anthropocene epoch begin? The Holocene epoch is agreed to have begun around 10,000 BC, and follows the last glacial period.

Why the possible switch? Anthropocene is a currently unofficial term meaning "Age of Man," first used in 2000 by ecologist Eugene Stoermer. Many scientists are thinking such a change is in order since humans are having such widespread effects on the planet- effects that can be measured in the geologic record. According to Science News, such factors include radioactive elements from atomic bomb tests spreading through the environment, the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and sediment trapped by dams.

Interested in learning more? Check out the following: