Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene

Zalasiewicz, J and Williams, M and Fortey, R and Smith, Alan and Barry, Tiffany L. and Coe, Angela L. and Bown, Paul R. and Rawson, Peter F. and Gale, Andrew and Gibbard, Philip and Gregory, F. .J. and Hounslow, Mark and Kerr, Andrew C. and Pearson, Paul and Knox, Robert and Powell, John and Waters, Colin and Marshall, John and Oates, Michael and Stone, Philip (2011) Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A, 369 (1938). p. 1036. ISSN 0264-3820

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The Anthropocene, an informal term used to signal the impact of collective human activity on biological, physical and chemical processes on the Earth system, is assessed using stratigraphic criteria. It is complex in time, space and process, and may be considered in terms of the scale, relative timing, duration and novelty of its various phenomena. The lithostratigraphic signal includes both direct components, such as urban constructions and man-made deposits, and indirect ones, such as sediment flux changes. Already widespread, these are producing a significant ‘event layer’, locally with considerable long-term preservation potential. Chemostratigraphic signals include new organic compounds, but are likely to be dominated by the effects of CO2 release, particularly via acidification in the marine realm, and man-made radionuclides. The sequence stratigraphic signal is negligible to date, but may become geologically significant over centennial/millennial time scales. The rapidly growing biostratigraphic signal includes geologically novel aspects (the scale of globally transferred species) and geologically will have permanent effects.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A
?? anthropocenegeological time stratigraphy biodiversity climate anthropogenic deposits ??
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29 Jul 2011 08:23
Last Modified:
06 Jan 2024 00:13