Welcome to the Anthropocene: new epoch agreed by geologists

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Higher than an age, but lower than a period- that is an epoch. And it is official: we are currently in the Anthropocene Epoch.

As the name suggests, this epoch is all about humans, a fact that is simultaneously thrilling and frightening.

The concept of an Anthropocene epoch was first proposed by chemist Paul Crutzen (who won a Nobel-prize for his work on the ozone layer depradation) and colleague Eugene Stoermer in 2000.

The Anthropocene epoch is and will be shaped by human activity. The AWG (Anthropocene Working Group) committee comprising of 35 geologists and scientists voted by a majority of 20 to officially recognise the fact we are currently in the Anthropocene Epoch.

The beginning of this epoch will be around the year 1950 since at this point in the history, the Earth was blanketed by radioactive particles thanks to the nuclear bombs. Other large-scale human activity like plastic pollution, effects of large-scale agriculture and industrialisation have also made a mark on the carbon and nitrogen levels in the atmosphere.

“Human action has certainly left traces on the earth for thousands of years, if you know where to look,” said Prof Jan Zalasiewicz, a palaeobiologist at the University of Leicester and a member of the working group, according to the Telegraph.

The Anthropocene epoch will follow the previous Holocene which started around 9,700 BC.

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