The last 4200 years are officially classified as a new chapter in the history of the Earth – the Meghalai era.
Started with a global drought that had devastating consequences for ancient civilizations from Egypt to China, a new era is the latest section of a longer period known as the Holocene era, which includes the last 11,700 years.
The Meghalai era is unique, as it is the first interval of the Earth’s geological history, which coincided with an important cultural event – the agricultural communities fought to recover from climate change.
At a meeting in June, the International Commission on Stratigraphy announced a new era that will appear in all official tables describing the geological past of the Earth.
Geologists use the International Chronostratigraphic Table to show sections of the history of the planet with a length of 4.6 billion years, each of which was marked by important events, such as the break of the continents or climate change.
The idea of the Meghalai era was first proposed seven years ago because of the special chemical traces found in stalactites and stalagmites.
Stalagmite, which was found in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, became the best proof of this and therefore gave its name to a new era.
Stalagmite, which marks the beginning of a new era. © IUGS
Two other new phases of the Holocene – the Greenland and Northgripian phases – were identified on the basis of ice cores found in Greenland. Together with the stalagmite they were placed in protected archives for further research.
However, some researchers opposed the official recognition of the Meghalai era, in view of the ongoing discussions about the definition of a new geological period characterized by human activity, anthropocene.