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Anthropocene

Wed 29 May, 2019

Recently a 34-member panel of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) voted 29-4 in favour of designating a new geological epoch called ‘the Anthropocene’. The vote signals the end of the Holocene Epoch, which began 11,700 years ago. The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS)—which oversees the geological time chart has yet to approve the new term.

Background

  • An epoch is basically a vast period of geological time spanning millennia.
  • The phenomena associated with the Anthropocene, as per AWG’s report, include an increase in erosion and sediment transport associated with urbanisation and agriculture, marked and abrupt anthropogenic perturbations of the carbon cycle causing global warming, sea-level rise, ocean acidification, changes in the biosphere, and global dispersion of new ‘minerals’, including concrete, fly ash, plastics, and ‘technofossils’ they produce.
  • Many in the AWG believe that the atomic Hydrogen bomb tests from the early 1950s led to the spread of artificial radionuclides (radioactive debris) across the world.

Anthropocene

  • The term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined in 2000 by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer.
  • It denotes the present geological time interval in which human activity has profoundly altered many conditions and processes on Earth.

International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS)

  • Founded in 1961, IUGS is an international non-governmental organization devoted to international cooperation in the field of geology.
  • It is a Scientific Union member of the International Council for Science (ICSU), which it recognizes as the coordinating body for the international organization of science.
  • The 36th International Geological Congress (IGC) is going to be held in Delhi, India in the year 2020.