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Nature. 2015 Mar 12;519(7542):171-80. doi: 10.1038/nature14258.

Defining the anthropocene.

Author information

1
1] Department of Geography, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK [2] School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK.
2
Department of Geography, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.

Abstract

Time is divided by geologists according to marked shifts in Earth's state. Recent global environmental changes suggest that Earth may have entered a new human-dominated geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Here we review the historical genesis of the idea and assess anthropogenic signatures in the geological record against the formal requirements for the recognition of a new epoch. The evidence suggests that of the various proposed dates two do appear to conform to the criteria to mark the beginning of the Anthropocene: 1610 and 1964. The formal establishment of an Anthropocene Epoch would mark a fundamental change in the relationship between humans and the Earth system.

PMID:
25762280
DOI:
10.1038/nature14258
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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