- Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
What to study?
For prelims: geological times scale.
For mains: concerns and challenges associated with the declaration.
Context: A team of scientists have voted to declare “Anthropocene” as a new chapter in the Earth’s geological history- the new epoch. The result builds on an informal vote taken at the 2016 International Geological Congress in Cape Town, and lays the groundwork for a formal proposal by 2021 to the International Commission on Stratigraphy.
What is it?
Coined by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000 to denote the present geological time interval, Anthropocene has been used to describe humanity’s large impact on the environment.
Implications: The move signals the end of the Holocene epoch, which began 12,000 to 11,600 years ago.
To show a clear transition from the Holocene, the scientists plan to identify a definitive geologic marker or ‘golden spike’, and would be technically called a Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP). For this, the group will search for the marker from around the globe, including a cave in northern Italy, corals in the Great Barrier Reef and a lake in China.
To demonstrate a sedimentary record representing the start of the epoch, the team is likely to choose the radionuclides that came from atomic-bomb detonations from 1945 until the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
The International Union of Geological Sciences needs to ratify the AWG formal proposal, before the new epoch can formally be recognised.