28 June 2021 to 2 July 2021
Europe/Vienna timezone


Series of talks on the Antropocene

2 Jul 2021, 11:30


Series of talks on the Antropocene: Invited talks on Anthropocene

  • Gerhard Graham (CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Vienna, Austria)
  • Martin B. Kalinowski (CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Vienna, Austria)


The idea of establishing a new geological age, the “Anthropocene’’, has created much interest globally. The Anthropocene is not a formally defined geological unit. The idea of formalizing it comes from a debate about the need to recognize a new geological age (or epoch) that is defined as having been profoundly influenced by mankind. In order to be accepted, the Anthropocene would have to be clearly visible over future geological timescales within the strata that are currently forming. Its boundary could be set by changes in geological processes such as urbanization, global warming, the agricultural impact on erosion, spreading of ocean dead zone, etc. Long-lived stratigraphic indicators such as anthropogenic pollutants including microplastics, proxies for elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, and radioactive isotopes from nuclear testing are among a wide range of indicators under consideration. The onset of such signatures has led to a discussion on what date should be chosen for an Anthropocene boundary, with the Industrial Revolution, the advent of massive concrete structures, the use of plastics, and the start of the nuclear age being candidates. Experts at the International Geological Congress held in Cape Town in 2016 recommended that the Anthropocene epoch should begin around 1950, with the radioactive elements dispersed across the globe through nuclear explosive testing.

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