In DepthStratigraphy

Anthropocene pinned to postwar period

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Science  26 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6302, pp. 852-853
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6302.852

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Summary

Although the Anthropocene is already a widely popular shorthand for humanity's global environmental reach, for the past 7 years a small group of scientists has been mulling whether to propose the term as a formal span of geologic time. This month, the group voted to propose the Anthropocene as the Holocene's successor, with its start at the industrial boom that followed World War II. Before a formal submission can go to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the bureaucracy that governs geologic time, researchers must still identify a stratigraphic section rich in geochemical markers of this postwar transition. They have a high bar to clear: Many stratigraphers are skeptical of their initiative and fear being drawn into a political statement.