Ch-ch-ch-changes: Scientists Consider New Geological Epoch

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Scientists from around the world met this week to decide whether to call time on the Holocene epoch after 11,700 years and begin a new geological age called the Anthropocene -- to reflect humankind's deep impact on the planet. For decades, researchers have asked whether humanity's impact on the Earth's surface and atmosphere mean we have entered the Anthropocene -- or new human era. "What we see is the urban phenomenon and the boom of China has a direct marking in the forms of the strata," said John Palmesino, a London-based architect who has worked with the scientists to capture on film the impact of humans on the Earth. "You can no longer distinguish what is man-made from what is natural." A group of geologists, climate scientists, ecologists and an expert in international law all met face-to-face for the first time in Berlin on Thursday and Friday to discuss the issue. They appeared to agree it is time for a change of epoch. The working group, being in no overdue hurry to make such a resounding decision, will report its conclusions in August 2016 to the International Geological Congress.


--- Reuters