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the anthropogenic period

This year (2016) the "International Commission on Stratigraphy" will convene to decide whether human influence indeed warrants a definition as a separate period. As in the Jurassic period when the dinosaurs left footprints, so do people leave their footprints, footprints that "will be discovered" " by geologists in the future



Open mine in New Zealand. Photo: shutterstock
Open mine in New Zealand. Photo: shutterstock

In the past I have already referred to the "anthropogenic period" which is characterized by the negative influence of man on the earth. Now scientists and researchers are coming out Demanding official recognition of the beginning of a new geological period.

The beginning of the period can be determined by the nuclear explosion experiment - 1945. Until today it was accepted that we are in the Holocene ("new time") period which began about 12 thousand years ago, that is, at the end of the last ice age, but for some time many researchers have been referring to the extreme changes that are caused By man, those who are "pushing the world into a new geological period".

This year (2016) the "International Commission on Stratigraphy" will convene to decide whether human influence indeed warrants a definition as a separate period. As in the Jurassic period when the dinosaurs left footprints, so do people leave their footprints, footprints that "will be discovered" " by geologists in the future.

Geologists indicate the prominent "traces" that will indicate the anthropogenic period.

  • - Garbage piles
    Anyone who has seen detective movies knows that garbage is a source of information. The same goes for archaeologists who dig at sites, except that the garbage piled up in our time is special in the huge quantities and in the fact that there are many non-biodegradable materials in it. People produced useful materials in everyday life: glass, bricks, pottery, copper, all of them are produced from nature, meaning they are "part of nature". Not so materials that were invented and came into use during the anthropogenic period, some of which have a "lifespan" of thousands of years. Even aluminum drinking cans will live for many years.
  • – Concrete
    Concrete was indeed used already in Roman times, but: "In the last twenty years, more than half of the amount of concrete has been produced and poured since then." There is enough concrete today to cover the entire earth in a uniform layer.
  • – Plastic
    Much has already been said and written about the sick evil that penetrates everywhere in our sphere. The use of plastic increased and went from 1950. Since the plastic is non-degradable it will mark the human presence long after the human species has disappeared.
  • - Mining
    All around the world, ores are mined, when the mining leaves scars, pits and huge tunnels, the amount of materials that are transported is three times greater than what is transported by all the world's rivers.
    As a result of the mining and the transportation of the minerals and their extraction which are carried out at different sites, topographical "traces" are created "that will survive for millions of years".
  • - agriculture/fertilizers,
    Since the beginning of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, people have been engaged in clearing forests, but scientists think that what will leave traces that will survive for millions of years will be the fertilizers. The amount of nitrogen that passes through the soil is tripled because of the way we extract nitrogen from the air and inject it into the soil to improve fruit and vegetable crops. However, the use of fertilizers is much greater than necessary and a considerable part is washed into rivers or sinks into groundwater bodies. We drink groundwater, river water feeds algae blooms and these algae will be a geological marker for waste.
  • - Bones
    Human bones and farm animal bones will be a common ("boring") find for future geologists, since today people and farm animals make up 95% in terms of body weight of all mammals. ‫ ‬
  • - ash / soot
    Around the world there is a covering of a layer of ash that results from pollution. This layer will signal to "future fossil hunters" our "love for mineral fuel". The ash, which is heavy particles, sinks and forms a layer all over the world mainly since the middle of the XNUMXth century.
  • - Climatic changes
    A dating method based on comparing carbon isotopes will not be accurate because due to the changes created as a result of global warming there will be "confusion" in the isotopes, because burning mineral fuel has a different ratio of carbon isotopes than burning wood.
  • - sea level rise,
    The rise of the sea level will be of a magnitude that has not been seen since the beginning of the Holocene, which, as mentioned, was the end of the ice age about 12.000 years ago.
  • – Atomic explosion
    The first explosion was on July 16, 1945. The scientists suggest setting this date as the beginning of the anthropogenic geological period, since "new" atoms were created and will continue to exist "long after the last man." These are atoms / isotopes that nature does not recognize, disperse in the atmosphere, sink and create markers in the geological layers that will last for millions of years.

In 2000, at the "World Committee for Geological Stratification" conference, the chemist Paul Kotzen proposed the anthropogenic term Anthropocene( ), which means "the era of man". One of the submitters of the proposal for official recognition of the name and period is Professor Stefan who believes that: "There is a chance that an official decision by the committee will encourage the human race to carefully consider its influence on our planet", a decision that will be a "wake-up call" to understand that "we are very strong".

Prof. Stefan continues and says "There is no doubt that we are intelligent and talented", "but do we know how to drive wisely"? "For we are living in the first generation of the knowledge of how we influence the entire world system", and I, the little one, will add that: knowledge is not enough, awareness is also needed, and I will also add that: the time has come that instead of controlling the environment for the sake of the human population, there will be control of the human population for the environment.

3 תגובות

  1. Any amount of concrete will cover the star in an even layer. Also a single concrete bucket. The question is how thick...

  2. In my opinion, the landfills will be eliminated in the not too distant future. They are an excellent source of a multitude of resources that the human race is interested in, starting from cheap and common metals (in the form of aluminum cans) to precious metals (found in smartphones and electronic devices that we casually throw away), a lot of fibers, plastics, organic waste, etc. will be sorted and separated and turned into raw material New. Reaching them is much easier than mining in distant continents and performing complicated and energy-intensive production steps. As soon as the technology is developed enough to efficiently sort all the garbage piles and transfer the products to extract the materials or energy inherent in them using efficient methods - we will begin to see the municipality of New York, for example, selling concessions worth hundreds of millions of dollars to extract its mountains of garbage, the mountain of Hiria will become a thing of the past, but the discussion The "waste plan" is expected to last for years, and arouse resentment over the sale of our national assets at too cheap a price, as is happening today with the gas plan. In addition to this, it must be assumed that it will be impossible to succeed without the Palestinians' claims that we are looting another of their national assets.

  3. In response I received the following:
    This is the summary:

    Key points in the Palaeo-Anthropocene period in Israel - human activity in the past as the shaper of the space of the current landscape
    Oren Ackerman, Ehud Weiss, Yelena Zhvalev, Aharon Meir, Simbika Fromin, Liora Kolska Horvitz Summary
    In 2002, Paul Krutzen coined the term Anthropocene, which defines the modern era as a geological period, made by mankind. In this period of time, significant global changes took place such as: the extinction of animal and plant species, an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. In his opinion, the industrial revolution that took place in the 18th century is the point of time for the beginning of this period.
    Additional studies, which reconstructed the ancient environmental conditions of the Holocene and Pleistocene periods, showed that significant environmental changes occurred as a result of anthropogenic activity that existed even before the industrial revolution. Accordingly, the term "Palaeoanthropocene" was established, the period of time between the appearance of hominids (2.8-2.5 million years before our time) and the industrial revolution (18th century AD). In this period of time, among other things, the extinction of megafauna and the agricultural revolution, which already caused in antiquity
    for increasing carbon dioxide emissions and for changes in the species composition of flora and fauna.
    A review of key points in the Paleo-Anthropocene period in Israel shows that there is a significant human imprint on the landscape. For example, about 50% of the area of ​​the slopes in the Jerusalem mountains are covered with ancient agricultural terraces. Destruction and siege of ancient cities caused processes of drifting and filling of sediments and changes in the pattern of plant distribution. Deforestation and agricultural activity caused a change in the composition of species, such as the entry of wild plants and domesticated species such as the olive. Different ethnic groups that came to the area brought plant and animal species that did not live here before. Well-known examples of this are the Persians who brought with them the etrog and the king nut, and the Philistines who brought with them to Israel a pig of European origin, whose genotype became the dominant one in the wild boar population to this day. These findings may help determine the nature of the interface of
    The current landscape system in Israel which is anthropogenic and not "purely" natural.
    Keywords: Anthropocene, Paleo-Anthropocene, anthropogenic landscape interface, landscape history, human-landscape relations, ecological geomorphology, anthropogenic geomorphology

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