BBC report on “Defining the Anthropoceneexternal image _87557649_thinkstockphotos-476949482.jpg
In this report the BBC journalist is interviewing a scientist working on identifying the different MARKERS or SIGNATURES which geologists could use to mark the end of the Holocene Epoch and the start of THE ANTHROPOCENE EPOCH.

LINK: Defining the Anthropocene


These signatures or markers have to be physical evidence (usually in the rock strata) which are both abrupt (very sudden) and global of an event which affected the environment.
1.PRESENCE of NOVEL MATERIALS
2.PRESENCE of BLACK CARBON PARTICLES
3.HOMOGENISATION of SPECIES
4.INCREASE OF CO2 and METHANE levels
.........??


1.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­PRESENCE of NOVEL MATERIALS
  • novel means NEW so we are talking about traces of MAN-MADE materials e.g. brass, plastics, concrete
2.PRESENCE of BLACK CARBON PARTICLES
  • this is fuel ash (the dark powder left after you burn a fossil fuel like wood, oil, coal ...)
3.HOMOGENISATION of SPECIES
  • the most numerous animal species on earth are domesticated cattle (cows), sheep ... and how we have been transferring/moving the same plant species (often food crops) across the whole planet
4.INCREASE OF CO2 and METHANE levels
  • with the development of agriculture, more land/forests cut down to make fields &
  • farmers began to domesticate animals e.g. cows (cattle), sheep..... most of which eat grass and expel a smelly gas (methane) from their bottoms!!
5.RADIOGENIC FALLOUT from nuclear testing
  • the 1st atomic bomb was tested & used in 1945 (the 1st bomb test) – not enough fallout to really produce a signature in the rocks
  • BUT During 1950s and 60s many more countries learned how to make atomic & NUCLEAR bombs and made a lot of tests so the fallout of the radiation was distributed throughout the globe.
(radiogenic = radiation produced by radioactive decay)