Friday, March 17, 2017

Have we entered the Anthropocene Era?

Hi all, here's a short summary of what the Anthropocene Era is all about. This idea become popular around 2000 and is currently the topic of heated debate between geologists and environmentalists. The Anthropocene Era is, in short, a proposed new era that the Earth has entered, after the Holocene (which started about 12,000 years ago after the Paleolithic Ice Age), due to the large impact that humans have had on the planet.
There are four proposed start-times of the Anthropocene Era, should it exist:
I) The beginning of modern agriculture, domestication of animals, and large-scale deforestation.
II) The colonization of the Americas and intercontinental exchange of species.
III) The ~1800 CE Industrial Revolution
IV) The "Great Acceleration" of the mid-1900's, when population size increased significantly, the most accepted beginning of the Anthropocene.
The Anthropocene is marked by severe changes in the Earth's atmosphere and stratigraphy (which is very important in the definition of an Era, according to geologists) due to the following factors:
-Technofossils such as aluminum, concrete, and plastic. Plastic takes a very long time to decay, so it is sure to produce lots of fossils.
-Pesticides and fertilizers lead to higher nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in the soil, causing a lack of oxygen more severe than the rest of the Holocene epoch.
-Fossil fuels disseminating black carbon.
-Mass extinction of plants and animals around the world.
Here's a link to read more! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26744408
Image result for anthropocene era comic

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