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Scientists: Anthropocene Epoch, the 'Age of Humans,' Has Begun

Image: Scientists: Anthropocene Epoch, the 'Age of Humans,' Has Begun

In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and According to scientists, the new Anthropocene epoch has begun on Earth. (NASA via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 Aug 2016 06:11 AM

The Anthropocene epoch is here, scientists say. The new geological era, translated as the "age of humans," began in the 1950s with nuclear bomb tests, plastic pollution, and the population boom, according to experts.

The Anthropocene signals the end of the Holocene, which refers to the previous 12,000 years.

To determine humans' impact on the Earth, "geologists examine layers of rock called 'strata,' which tell a story of changes to the functioning of Earth’s surface and near-surface processes, be these oceanic, biological, terrestrial, riverine, atmospheric, tectonic, or chemical," says Raw Story.

According to the Working Group on the Anthropocene, which presented its findings to the Geological Congress on Monday, humans' impact on the earth has been so great, it's time to usher in the new era.

"Being able to pinpoint an interval of time is saying something about how we have had an incredible impact on the environment of our planet," said WGA secretary and principal geologist at the British Geological Survey Colin Waters, The Guardian reported. "The concept of the Anthropocene manages to pull all these ideas of environmental change together."

Scientists determined the new era by studying the geological makeup of the Earth. They said the signals for the change are radioactive elements left behind after nuclear bomb tests, unburned carbon spheres ("The Earth has been smoked," Jan Zalasiewicz, a geologist at the University of Leicester and chair of the WGA, said, according to The Guardian), plastic pollution, aluminum particles, and the effects of artificial fertilizers.

Still, the scientists' assertion that the Anthropocene epoch has begun is only a recommendation. We're still a few years away from the new era being formally adopted as being in effect.

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The Anthropocene epoch is here, scientists say. The new geological era, translated as the "age of humans," began in the 1950s with nuclear bomb tests, plastic pollution, and the population boom, according to experts.
scientists, anthropocene, epoch, humans, begun
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2016-11-31
Wednesday, 31 Aug 2016 06:11 AM
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