Welcome to Earth’s new era, the Anthropocene.

In 2009, a team of scientists began researching the Anthropocene, a geologic epoch in which human influence on Earth became a defining factor. Today, they present their findings, including the exact location believed to be the epicenter of this epoch.

The Holocene Epoch and the beginning of the Anthropocene

The Holocene, an era that began about 11,700 years ago with the end of the last ice age, was relatively stable. However, researchers confirm that human activity changed this stability and moved the planet into a new epoch, the Anthropocene.

The Anthropocene epoch began around the middle of the 20th century and is characterized by a dramatic increase in various indicators of human influence, such as greenhouse gas concentrations, microplastic pollution, invasive species, and radioactive footprints from atomic bomb testing. These changes have been recognized by scientists as the Great Acceleration.

The “golden spike” of the Anthropocene

One of the major findings of the study is the identification of a “golden spike,” the geologic repository of evidence that best illustrates the Anthropocene epoch. This could be a lake deposit, a coral reef, or an ice core. The final decision on the location of this “golden spike” will be announced at a press conference in Berlin and Lille.

Disputes and verification of results

However, there is controversy over the inclusion of the Anthropocene in the International Chronostratigraphic Chart, the planet’s official timeline. Some geologists believe that the Anthropocene epoch does not meet the technical criteria for historical geologic patterns. The legitimacy of the findings will be scrutinized by scientists of the International Commission on Stratigraphy and the International Union of Geological Sciences.

Significance of the Anthropocene

The transition from the Holocene Epoch to the Anthropocene invites us to take a critical look at humanity’s impact on the planet. For the first time in Earth’s history, a single species has succeeded not only in changing the morphology, chemistry and biology of the planet, but also in determining the extent of these changes. This triggers a paradigm shift in scientific thinking and calls for a serious examination of the challenges we face.

The findings of the Anthropocene study represent an important step in understanding humanity’s impact on the planet. They provide us with an opportunity to recognize our responsibility for the future of the Earth and to take action to conserve its ecosystem and resources.

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