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

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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.

IN-DEPTH

--- Reuters

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