We are currently living in the Holocene epoch, but some geologists think the influence of human activity on the planet has reached a point where we have entered a new geological time period.
This means that we might have entered a new era, or epoch called the Anthropocene, which is a term that was first popularized by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen in the year 2000.
An epoch typically lasts tens of millions of years, so the impact on the planet caused by human activity like industrial pollution and nuclear disasters would have to be evident for that long.
Experts can’t agree exactly if or when to start measuring the new epoch, and some argue that there just isn’t sufficient evidence yet that human activity has changed the planet.
James Ogg, a stratigrapher with Purdue University and the China University of Geosciences is quoted as saying: “The Anthropocene is a very useful term, because it helps show the dramatic impacts we’ve had on all aspects of the planet. But on the geologic time scale, you need a place and time that can be correlated around the world…”
Adding to the confusion is the name itself. The ending “cene” implies an epoch, but smaller measurements for geological periods might apply to the Anthropecene like an age, which only lasts for millions of years.
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