Word of the Day: "Anthropocene"
The Earth's most recent epoch, one marked by an explosion in the human population along with all which will likely come with it:
- Deposits in the Earth's strata coming from such products and byproducts as plastics, concrete, asphalt, metal alloys, radioactive and other toxic wastes as well as everything else added by our modern industrial and post-industrial civilization.
- What will likely be the Earth's 6th largest mass extinction.
- In just two centuries, we humans have wrought such vast and unprecedented changes to our biosphere that we actually might be ushering in a new geological time interval, and will alter the planet for millions of years.
- Zalasiewicz, Williams, Steffen and Crutzen contend that recent human activity, including stunning population growth, sprawling megacities and increased use of fossil fuels, have changed the planet to such an extent that we are entering what they call the Anthropocene (New Man) Epoch.
- First proposed by Crutzen more than a decade ago, the term Anthropocene has provoked controversy. However, as more potential consequences of human activity — such as global climate change and sharp increases in plant and animal extinctions — have emerged, Crutzen's term has gained support.
- Currently, the worldwide geological community is formally considering whether the Anthropocene should join the Jurassic, Cambrian and other more familiar units on the Geological Time Scale.