Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 19;8(1):3293. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20970-5.

Global Peak in Atmospheric Radiocarbon Provides a Potential Definition for the Onset of the Anthropocene Epoch in 1965.

Author information

1
Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. c.turney@unsw.edu.au.
2
Climate Change Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. c.turney@unsw.edu.au.
3
ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. c.turney@unsw.edu.au.
4
Palaeontology, Geobiology and Earth Archives Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
5
Climate Change Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
6
ARC Centre of Excellence in Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
7
Department of Geography, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.
8
Waikato Radiocarbon Laboratory, University of Waikato, Private Bag, 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand.
9
School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Keele, Keele, Newcastle-under-Lyme, United Kingdom.
10
Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA, 92697-3100, USA.
11
Gondwana Tree-Ring Laboratory, P.O. Box 14, Little River, Canterbury, 7546, New Zealand.
12
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 5.2, Telegrafenberg, 14473, Potsdam, Germany.
13
Long Term Ecology Laboratory, Landcare Research, PO Box 69040, Lincoln, 7640, New Zealand.
14
School of Environment, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand.
15
Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK.
16
Conservation House, PO Box 10420, Wellington, 6143, New Zealand.
17
Department of Geography, University of Exeter, Devon, EX4 4RJ, UK.
18
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.
19
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Locked Bag 2001, Kirrawee DC, NSW 2232, Australia.

Abstract

Anthropogenic activity is now recognised as having profoundly and permanently altered the Earth system, suggesting we have entered a human-dominated geological epoch, the 'Anthropocene'. To formally define the onset of the Anthropocene, a synchronous global signature within geological-forming materials is required. Here we report a series of precisely-dated tree-ring records from Campbell Island (Southern Ocean) that capture peak atmospheric radiocarbon (14C) resulting from Northern Hemisphere-dominated thermonuclear bomb tests during the 1950s and 1960s. The only alien tree on the island, a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), allows us to seasonally-resolve Southern Hemisphere atmospheric 14C, demonstrating the 'bomb peak' in this remote and pristine location occurred in the last-quarter of 1965 (October-December), coincident with the broader changes associated with the post-World War II 'Great Acceleration' in industrial capacity and consumption. Our findings provide a precisely-resolved potential Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) or 'golden spike', marking the onset of the Anthropocene Epoch.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center