Review

The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene

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Science  08 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6269, aad2622
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2622

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Evidence of an Anthropocene epoch

Humans are undoubtedly altering many geological processes on Earth—and have been for some time. But what is the stratigraphic evidence for officially distinguishing this new human-dominated time period, termed the “Anthropocene,” from the preceding Holocene epoch? Waters et al. review climatic, biological, and geochemical signatures of human activity in sediments and ice cores. Combined with deposits of new materials and radionuclides, as well as human-caused modification of sedimentary processes, the Anthropocene stands alone stratigraphically as a new epoch beginning sometime in the mid–20th century.

Science, this issue p. 10.1126/science.aad2622

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