Anthropocene: “it will be the rocks that have the final say” about this fake word.

Guest geology by David Middleton

The fake geologic epoch known as the “Anthropocene” just won’t die… It’s like a zombie from a bad science fiction movie.

NEWS FEATURE  06 AUGUST 2019

Humans versus Earth: the quest to define the Anthropocene
Researchers are hunting for nuclear debris, mercury pollution and other fingerprints of humanity that could designate a new geological epoch.


Crawford Lake is so small it takes just 10 minutes to stroll all the way around its shore. But beneath its surface, this pond in southern Ontario in Canada hides something special that is attracting attention from scientists around the globe. They are in search of a distinctive marker buried deep in the mud — a signal designating the moment when humans achieved such power that they started irreversibly transforming the planet. The mud layers in this lake could be ground zero for the Anthropocene — a potential new epoch of geological time.

This lake is unusually deep for its size so its waters never fully mix, which leaves its bottom undisturbed by burrowing worms or currents. Layers of sediment accumulate like tree rings, creating an archive reaching back nearly 1,000 years.

[…]

Given how much people have done to the planet, there are many potential markers. “Scientifically, in terms of evidence, we’re spoiled for choice, but we have to pin it down,” says Jan Zalasiewicz, a palaeobiologist at the University of Leicester, UK, and chair of the AWG.

[…]

Once they pick their representative marker, researchers working with the AWG need to gather enough evidence from around the world to convince the governing bodies of geoscience that they have found a truly reliable signal for the start of the Anthropocene. But some scientists argue that human activity has been shaping the planet for thousands of years, and that the working group has settled too quickly on the 1950s for the start of the proposed epoch. Erle Ellis, a geographer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and an AWG member, has criticized the committee’s plans for designating the start of the Anthropocene. “The AWG decided the timing of the boundary before deciding on the marker, not the other way around,” says Ellis.

Hard evidence
In the end, it will be the rocks that have the final say.

[…]

After a decade of investigating this question, the AWG decided in May that humans had, in fact, left an indelible geological mark. In a binding vote in May, 29 of the 34 members opted to move forward with developing a proposal supporting the designation of the Anthropocene.

The AWG’s next task is to put forward a formal proposal identifying a global boundary stratotype section and point (GSSP), or ‘golden spike’…

[…]

In its recent vote, the AWG members decided overwhelmingly to pursue a GSSP in the mid-twentieth century.

[…]

A series of votes
Like the stratigraphic record that the researchers are studying, the decision to officially designate the Anthropocene is multilayered. The AWG aims to present a final proposal identifying a mid-twentieth-century GSSP to its parent body, the Quaternary Subcommission of the ICS, by 2021. If approved, the proposal will be voted on by the ICS and will then proceed to the executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for final ratification. Only if it passes all these hurdles will the Anthropocene officially become a new unit of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart, more commonly known as the Geological Time Scale. So far, all 65 GSSPs that have been ratified are from marine environments, except for the one marking the start of the Holocene, which uses a Greenland ice core.

The formal process has moved much more slowly than has popular culture, which has already embraced the Anthropocene and used the term on everything from record albums to magazine covers. But the AWG is clear that its mandate is to make decisions based on the stratigraphic record alone.

Not everyone is convinced it can do that yet. One sore point is that the working group made a decision on when to set the boundary, even though it had not yet settled on a golden spike in the stratigraphic record. “It is an imposition of ideas onto matter, shaping evidence to fit, but it should be the other way around,” says Matt Edgeworth, an archaeologist at the University of Leicester.

Edgeworth is a member of the AWG but voted against the decision to recognize the Anthropocene.

[…]

Nature

There’s no agenda here…

Did I need the /SARC tag?

Despite being populated with activists like Naomi Oreskes, it has taken the AWG ten years to vote on what their conclusion will be and to start looking for evidence to support their conclusion… And the vote wasn’t unanimous.

Here’s where the Anthropocene dies…

The AWG aims to present a final proposal identifying a mid-twentieth-century GSSP to its parent body, the Quaternary Subcommission of the ICS, by 2021. If approved, the proposal will be voted on by the ICS and will then proceed to the executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for final ratification. Only if it passes all these hurdles will the Anthropocene officially become a new unit of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart, more commonly known as the Geological Time Scale. So far, all 65 GSSPs that have been ratified are from marine environments, except for the one marking the start of the Holocene, which uses a Greenland ice core.

Nature

The geologic time scale is based on the stratigraphic record, generally found in “rocks”.  The Holocene Epoch shouldn’t even be an epoch.  It should be an interglacial stage within the Upper Pleistocene, rather than an epoch of equal stature to the Pleistocene. The Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, so clear in the NGRIP ice core, loses all of its uniqueness in Antarctic ice cores, which capture multiple Late Quaternary glacial-interglacial transitions.

Assuming the AWG is ever able to put forward a coherent proposal for an Anthropocene epoch starting in the mid-20th century, they face some high hurdles in getting it ratified.

In the end, it will be the rocks that have the final say.

Nature

There aren’t a lot of sedimentary rocks that are only 60-70 years old.

The recent subdivision of the Holocene was based on a formal recommendation from a Working Group and was approved by >60% votes of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy and the ICS Bureau, followed by ratification by the IUGS Executive Committee.

Figure 4 from Finney & Edwards.  “Workflow for approval and ratification of a Global Standard Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) proposal. Extensive discussion and evaluation occurs at the level of the working group, subcommission, and International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) Bureau. If approved at these successive levels, a proposal is forwarded to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for ratification. This process is also followed for other ICS decisions on standardization, such as approval of names of formal units, of revisions to the units, and to revision or replacement of GSSPs.”

This leads us to the reason that the Anthropocene will almost certainly never be recognized as a formal geologic time period…

The utility of the Anthropocene requires careful consideration by its various potential users. Its concept is fundamentally different from the chronostratigraphic units that are established by ICS in that the documentation and study of the human impact on the Earth system are based more on direct human observation than on a stratigraphic record. The drive to officially recognize the Anthropocene may, in fact, be political rather than scientific.

Finney & Edwards, 2016

Dr. Stanley Finney is the Secretary General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), which would have to ratify any formal changes to the geologic time scale. Dr. Finney’s term as the elected president of the IUGS runs through 2020… I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the AWG plans to present their formal recommendation in 2021?

References

Finney, Stanley C. & Lucy E. Edwards. “The “Anthropocene” epoch: Scientific decision or political statement?” GSA Today, 2016; 26 (3): 4 DOI: 10.1130/GSATG270A.1

Walker, M. , Johnsen, S. , Rasmussen, S. O., Popp, T. , Steffensen, J. , Gibbard, P. , Hoek, W. , Lowe, J. , Andrews, J. , Björck, S. , Cwynar, L. C., Hughen, K. , Kershaw, P. , Kromer, B. , Litt, T. , Lowe, D. J., Nakagawa, T. , Newnham, R. and Schwander, J. (2009), “Formal definition and dating of the GSSP (Global Stratotype Section and Point) for the base of the Holocene using the Greenland NGRIP ice core, and selected auxiliary records”. J. Quaternary Sci., 24: 3-17. doi:10.1002/jqs.1227

What’s more fake than an Anthropocene Epoch?

An Anthropocene Era.

‘Habitus’ (2013 – ongoing) is an art installation by Robyn Woolston (robynwoolston.com), commissioned by Edge Hill University, which announces the Anthropocene epoch, Vegas-style. AAPG Explorer.

The Anthropocene Era really would have been truly fabulous… for its brevity.

  • Paleozoic Era: 541 to 252 million years ago, 289 million years.
  • Mesozoic Era: 252 to 66 million years ago, 186 million years.
  • Cenozoic Era:  66 million to 73 years ago, 65.999927 million years.
  • Anthropocene Era: 1945-2018, 0.000073 million years.

I really couldn’t make this sort of schist up if I was trying.

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Dan Cody
August 7, 2019 6:24 pm

Why did the Zombie eat the archer? He wanted his bone and marrow.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
August 7, 2019 8:45 pm

Just the thought of it makes me quiver!

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 7, 2019 9:42 pm

Don’t get shafted.

RomseyDave
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 1:19 am

Shoulda been ‘…bottomless quiver of barbed jokes….’

Gunga Din
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 4:21 pm

Some time ago someone posted “A Nurses Guide to the Apocalypse”. It covered Zombies but I can’t the link. 8-(
It covered zombies.

August 7, 2019 6:40 pm

How about the idiogendocene defined as the era where the scientific method gave way to idiots pushing agendas.

Dennis Sandberg
Reply to  co2isnotevil
August 7, 2019 7:12 pm

idiogendocene gets my vote

Bill Powers
Reply to  co2isnotevil
August 8, 2019 8:06 am

We can call it the Method Social Scientific. It differs from the Scientific Method in that you reach an unassailable socialist conclusion and then manufacture all the evidence you need to promote it. It comes complete with its own Inter-governmental Panel assigned and housed in the UN building.

Then you regale all those who contribute to the supposition and derail all who question it with the complete support of the Primary Media outlets acting as the Publicity Department for the Newscience.

Bill Powers
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 11:28 am

Oh now you want to be serious?

You do understand that this whole thing is laughable fodder for the Misinformation Mafia in the mainstream media. You know aka the Propaganda Ministry. They have a separate Department for CAGW Publicity.

The AWGs and the ICSs and JUGs and IUDs areall bureaucrats with buttons at conferences on per diem (another word for other peoples money). This is all one great big joke played by officious idiots looking for funding. A make work project to pull wool over taxpayers eyes.

August 7, 2019 6:44 pm

The trouble is that this sort of fake and fictitious idea like the ‘Anthropocene’ Era is very easy to make up, just like a pocket pulp novel and once it gets into people’s imagination, it becomes a meme, or lives like a zombie or a new King Kong from a bad science fiction movie.

Bill Powers
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 8, 2019 11:31 am

That is because the Propaganda Press breathes life into this nonsense and if it goes into arrest they hit it with shock paddles. CLEAR!

Ronald Ginzler
August 7, 2019 7:01 pm

A better name would be the Halfassic.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
August 7, 2019 7:34 pm

Naomi Oreskes is a Professor of the History of Science. Kind of scary.

“He who controls the past, controls the future; and he who controls the present, controls the past.” George Orwell, 1984.

R Shearer
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
August 7, 2019 8:34 pm

Have you seen what she looks like?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  R Shearer
August 7, 2019 9:48 pm

“Have you seen what she looks like?”

Are you that shallow?

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 8, 2019 5:34 am

See, you immediately assumed the poster meant, “she looks like a muskellunge and is therefore not to be taken seriously,” and got your back up. What if it had been this picture?

comment image

You might think, as I did, that he meant, “here is a person consumed with contempt for humanity.” Not shallow at all!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Michael H Anderson
August 8, 2019 6:31 am

“See, you immediately assumed the poster meant, “she looks like a muskellunge and is therefore not to be taken seriously,” and got your back up.”

No, I’ve seen it on every thread where she is mentioned. Those few people will immediately start attacking based on her physical appearance. Other comments are proving my point. What does it matter how she looks?

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  R Shearer
August 8, 2019 1:41 am

She looks tired. She needs to take a rest.

Berényi Péter
Reply to  R Shearer
August 8, 2019 2:08 am

She used to look like this in 2015:

comment image

Since then she has improved:

comment image

Gunga Din
Reply to  Berényi Péter
August 8, 2019 4:28 pm
ozspeaksup
Reply to  Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
August 8, 2019 2:27 am

scary isnt it?
one of her books is in our opshop
looks unread…which is a good thing
Im going to buy it to burn
after all its as thick as she is
and its 3c here tonight and prob rest of the week
I figure Im doing a civic duty and saving impressionable minds by removing it from circulation.
and No Im not a book hating illiterati at all
the moauntains fo them at home etc
but hers
and a couple of the Gai fantasies by whats his face ? attenborough
deserve the F451 sendoff.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  ozspeaksup
August 8, 2019 6:32 am

Burn the books you don’t agree with. What could go wrong there?

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 8, 2019 7:53 am

What could and did go wrong is that this thread attracted you, Jeff. Gainsaying ≠ an argument. Take a hike, troll.

Loydo
Reply to  Michael H Anderson
August 8, 2019 9:00 pm

I call dibs on which books to burn.

Michael H Anderson
Reply to  ozspeaksup
August 8, 2019 8:12 am

Don’t see any difference between this and removing “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” or “The Anarchist’s Cookbook.” Naturally your mention of burning rather than e.g. using the books for bumwad caught the attention of tiny-brained pond life; don’t let it bother you. The petrol is on me, PayPal is fine.

Tom Halla
August 7, 2019 7:38 pm

The Ajustocene is obviously snark, but the Athropocene is purely Political Correctness. After the infamous old political joke–I know this is factually correct, Comrade, but is it Politically Correct?

commieBob
August 7, 2019 7:38 pm

I really couldn’t make this sort of schist up if I was trying.

Well, I took that for granite.

I’m surprised. The usual SJW modus operandi would be to try to get Dr. Finney fired and to get his pension revoked and trump up some charges to get him thrown in jail. Why the kid gloves?

rocdoctom
August 7, 2019 7:42 pm

F. J. Petitioning…”the rocks are the final arbiter”.

GregK
August 7, 2019 8:06 pm

The Anthropocene nonsense is case of let’s call the post 1945 period something that fits with our doomist view of life then go out and try and find things that prove it exists.

It’s impossible to distinguish the “Anthropocene” geologically.
The Holocene [the last 11,650 years and “now”] is difficult enough.
It’s really just an interglacial…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene
An interglacial that includes a period warmer then now..https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_climatic_optimum
Interestingly another name that has been used for the Holocene is Anthropogene….pretty much the same as Anthropocene.

“Paleontologists have defined no faunal stages for Holocene. If subdivision is necessary, periods of human technological development such as Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic are usually used.”

Maybe perhaps, in a million years archeologists and geologists [of some species] working along ancient road networks might be able to define marker beds…bottles being replaced by cans, steel cans replaced by aluminium cans, the appearance of cassette tapes and rapid disappearace [that was a species that rose to prominence and quickly went extinct], the appearance of McDonalds packaging, the appearance of coffee cups and so on.

Ron Long
Reply to  GregK
August 8, 2019 8:15 am

GregK let’s don’t forget our pre-Columbian Indian friends who left kitchen middens all along the Pacific Coast. Judging from the charcoal and shells they ate pretty well, and these kitchen middens are easy to identify.

Reply to  GregK
August 8, 2019 10:34 am

” … let’s call the post 1945 period something that fits with our doomist view of life then go out and try and find things that prove it exists. ”

Isn’t this the charter of the IPCC as it fabricates science in support the UNFCCC?

John Tillman
Reply to  GregK
August 8, 2019 3:16 pm

While not called ages or stages, in July 2018 the International Union of Geological Sciences split the Holocene epoch into three distinct subsections proposed by the International Commission on Stratigraphy: Greenlandian (11,700 to 8326 years ago), Northgrippian (8326 to 4200 years ago) and Meghalayan (4200 years ago to the present).

The boundary stratotype (GSSP) of the Meghalayan is a speleothem in Krem Mawmluh Cave, India. The global auxiliary stratotype is an ice core from Mount Logan, Canada.

Real geological ages or stages can last millions of years within even longer epochs. For instance, the Late Cretaceous Epoch contains the six ages, the last two of which cover 11.5 (Campanian) and 6.1 (Maastrichtian) million years.

The Maastrichtian boasted the formidable, familiar T. rex and Triceratops, while the Campanian got by with their tyrannosaur and ceratopsian ancestors and kin.

Tommyboy
August 7, 2019 8:30 pm

The proposed Anthropocene is supposed to be when humans started making major permanent changes to the earth? What about early man, oops sorry, I mean early person hunting North American megafauna to extinction about ten thousand years ago?

August 7, 2019 8:33 pm

David Middleton says:

“The Holocene Epoch shouldn’t even be an epoch. It should be an interglacial stage within the Upper Pleistocene, rather than an epoch of equal stature to the Pleistocene.”

I agree. We are still in the Pleistocene. There is nothing unique about the current interglacial period as compared to the last several, with the possible exception of one or two dozen large mammal extinctions that occurred around the time of the Younger Dryas. It is quite likely that another glacial period will begin possibly as early as a few thousand years from now or sooner. Will the next glacial period in our current Ice Age be given a new Epoch designation? And also the subsequent interglacial period? Doesn’t make good sense to me.

Richard A. O'Keefe
August 7, 2019 8:46 pm

What is the Anthropocene *for*? What *geological* problem does defining it address?

Toto
August 7, 2019 8:54 pm

I like Plasticene better than Anthro whatever, but we don’t need a new name until the layer of human bones is thick enough to show up. Like in the walls of the Grand Canyon

Renee
Reply to  Toto
August 8, 2019 6:16 pm

A layer of bones and plastic will be the future unconformity of The Anthropocene, hardly an Era.

Bemused Bill
August 7, 2019 9:10 pm

This should be a perfect opportunity to point out the dangerously low levels of CO2 in the Anthropogenic samples. 410 PPM….and compare it to the vastly higher saturations in previous epochs and eras of 8,000 PPM and more in the Cambrian and show it dying away to the almost record low that it is today.
I see this as an opportunity and I cant believe how stupid these people are who are pushing this swill, make them pay for their stupidity.
I suggest you print out and laminate this particular graph and leave it in the car for shock value when you meet a warmist fool shooting his mouth off at a party etc. I put the Antarctic ice core sample on the other side making sure it is obvious that heating precedes a rise in CO2 always…and that is enough to stir dissent and wake a few people up I can assure you, no normal decent ordinary folk know about this…so as I say, I find this an excellent opportunity.
https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-291ab5ba663d458dc0b36e8199b58208

AWM
August 7, 2019 9:36 pm

Anthropocene is a crock like so much of the other “cutting” edge research we see today.
It seems so many fudge factors are needed for much of what passes for research these days I just have one question, exactly what are they trying to cover up?

Loydo
August 7, 2019 9:41 pm

Totally agree that: “The Holocene Epoch shouldn’t even be an epoch. It should be an interglacial stage within the Upper Pleistocene, rather than an epoch of equal stature to the Pleistocene.”

The end of the so-called Holocene is a different matter.

“it will be the rocks that have the final say”

And the rocks will reveal a far thicker and far more distinctive layer than the K–Pg boundary which averages only 2-3mm thick. (http://spiral.ic.ac.uk/retrieve/9556/license.txt)

Yes, thats when an asteroid killed off 75% of species.

Forget about the Holocene, say good bye to the Cenozoic.

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 11:55 am

This why the Paleogene Period should really have only two ages or stages.

The Cenozoic Icehouse begins at the Eocene/Oligocene boundary, hence so should the Neogene Period.

Renee
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 6:54 pm

It’s more likely the Anthropocene will be a significant unconformity, a layer of plastic and metal rapidly buried by the devastating future sea level rise.

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 7:36 pm

There is no suggestion of rapid sea level rise.

In the past century, sea level has continued to rise at the same pace as since the depths of the Little Ice Age, during the Maunder Minimum of the late 17th century.

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 9, 2019 9:13 am

Since we’re still in the Cenozoic and Neogene Ice Age, sea level is liable to fall again in future. In the longer term, the oceans will evaporate.

But in any case, lots of cities are far from the coasts. Even during the Cretaceous high stand, when the Great Plains were under water, there was still dry land.

Renee
Reply to  David Middleton
August 9, 2019 2:33 pm

Actually the devasting rapid sea level rise comment was (sarc). Typically surfaces on exposed dry land eventually tend to become unconformities or thin hard ground veneer surfaces.

Renee
Reply to  David Middleton
August 9, 2019 10:36 pm

In the Anthropocene the terrestrial stratigraphic layer will consist of metal and batteries (cell phones, solar panels, electric cars, wind mills, concrete) instead of woody land organic layers (trees, grasses, mud).

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  David Middleton
August 13, 2019 4:17 am

“All bonded together by styrofoam…”

We had a chance at making the McDonaldocene but we blew it when we switched to cardboard packaging.

MarkW
Reply to  Loydo
August 8, 2019 5:02 pm

What makes it a boundary is the fact that there are substantial differences between flora and fauna above the boundary compared to below it.
The thickness of the boundary layer only matters to those who aren’t smart enough to concentrate on the real issues.

Bryan A
August 7, 2019 10:44 pm

The Anthropocene Era really would have been truly fabulous… for its brevity.

Paleozoic Era: 541 to 252 million years ago, 289 million years.
Mesozoic Era: 252 to 66 million years ago, 186 million years.
Cenozoic Era: 66 million to 73 years ago, 65.999927 million years.
Anthropocene Era: 1945-2018, 0.000073 million years.

Welcome to the Anthropocene…blink and you’ll miss it

Edward B Hanley
August 7, 2019 11:32 pm

Since we are dealing with lake sediments, it will likely be determined that the Anthropocene can be subdivided into the Steelcanian, followed by the Soft-topian, the Pull-tabian, and, currently, the Poptopian.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
August 9, 2019 9:20 am

David,
I remember a cartoon from college days showing some alien looking creatures recording a description of a “radioactive, beer can conglomerate.”

Geoff Sherrington
August 7, 2019 11:32 pm

Professional people in earth sciences use the geological features of these time divisions for various purposes, such as assigning a bracket of ages and seeking similarity to other places.
To do this, the properties that help deduce the age have to be reasonably easy to identfy, not so fleeting or vague or rare that one needs special apparatus.
Those proposing “Anthropocene” fail this common sense test and are exposed to the same levity as those proposing the equally invalid “Adjustocene”.
Geoff S

Art
August 7, 2019 11:51 pm

“it will be the rocks that have the final say”

Yeah, maybe in another 50 million years or so from now.

Chris Hanley
August 8, 2019 12:16 am

‘There’s no agenda here… ‘.
Indeed.
“The AWG decided the timing of the boundary before deciding on the marker, not the other way around”.
Ain’t that the way, assemble a group of like-minded colleagues, agree on the conclusion, then look for supporting evidence and declare ‘the science is settled’.

Greater
Reply to  Chris Hanley
August 8, 2019 7:27 am

There is evidence-based decision making and decision-based evidence making…

Pat Frank
Reply to  Chris Hanley
August 8, 2019 9:51 am

You’ve described the current state of the academic Humanities and Sociology, Chris. Assume, cherry-pick, validate.

It’s a systematic and conscious violation of the tenure agreement, and of the political neutrality of public money. And college administrators are serene.

Coeur de Lion
August 8, 2019 1:04 am

Re extinction of American megafauna above – according to Matt Ridley humankind profited from specialisation – men hunted, women gathered, whatever the weather there was always something to eat. So to say extinction was caused by men is correct – by ‘personhunters’ incorrect.

John Tillman
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
August 8, 2019 3:00 pm

Lions also specialize. Lionesses hunt, while lions just chase them off their prey, or do the same with hyena kills. Why work hard, when you can just bully and scare smaller creatures for your dinner? Better even if you and your brother team up to beat up on other predtors and take over a pride of lionesses, killing their current cubs, of course.

The downside for lions is that their time atop the heap is limited.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Tillman
August 9, 2019 9:17 am

JT
You said, “… their time atop the heap is limited.” That is because another job they perform is to defend the pride from other predators that the lionesses are not capable of. It often results in high personal cost to the males.

tty
August 8, 2019 1:23 am

If the ”Anthropocene” must have a geologically/stratigraphically discernible GSSP with a reasonably wide application I submit that the only viable one would be the expansion of Homo sapiens outside Africa. This is usually discernible biostratigraphically through the rapid extinction of large animals (including all other hominids), abrupt changes in fire frequency/vegetation and occurrence of characteristic stone tools.

Unfortunately it is somewhat time-transgressive, from c. 50,000 BP in the Middle East to c. <1,000 BP in much of the Pacific. However this is probably just as true for nearly all stratigraphic boundaries (except the K/Pg one, thanks to Chicxulub).

Reply to  tty
August 8, 2019 7:34 am

tty, there is an interesting stratigraphic boundary evident at many locations at the start of the Younger Dryas cold spell. Some say it has similarities to the K/Pg boundary, though not near as extreme of an extinction event.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 1:04 pm

David,

Here’s a recent example of what “some say” about the Younger Dryas boundary:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-38089-y

I love geology, but I’m not a trained geologist, so I could easily be missing some important aspects. But the topic is at least controversial, even among trained geologists.

Reply to  Bryan - oz4caster
August 8, 2019 3:48 pm

David, thanks for the graphs. I’ve seen the first two and the third is consistent with the discussion in the paper that I linked. What you have not addressed are Sections 3 and 4 in that paper regarding spherules and platinum. It’s an interesting article regardless of interpretations.

John Tillman
Reply to  Bryan - oz4caster
August 8, 2019 7:20 pm

Bryan,

There is no valid evidence whatsoever for a YD impact and all the real evidence in the world against it.

The same usual suspects and their strap hangers somehow keep getting published, no matter how many times their laughable, repeatedly falsified assertions have been shown false.

Loydo
Reply to  Bryan - oz4caster
August 8, 2019 8:50 pm

“The K-Pg boundary…”

Gee, it guess it’s made the transistion.

Loydo
Reply to  Bryan - oz4caster
August 8, 2019 9:13 pm

“Younger Dryas, was just the final glacial stadial of the last glacial stage of the Pleistocene… ”

“Scattered evidence of an impact event doesn’t constitute chrono-stratigraphic significance.”

If the Younger Dryas is nothing burger, the much less significant MWP and the LIA are what? Sesame seeds on a nothing burger?

Loydo
Reply to  Bryan - oz4caster
August 9, 2019 5:11 am

I call it a boundary: “the K–Pg boundary which averages only 2-3mm thick”.
You correct me: “A “boundary layer” can’t be thick… It’s a boundary.”
Then use the same phrase yourself: “not even remotely close to the K-Pg boundary”

With mockery, arrogance and churlishness thrown in for good measure. Go and have a nap.

tty
Reply to  Bryan - oz4caster
August 8, 2019 12:08 pm

The end of the Younger Dryas is a quite sharp and well defined climatic shift that is the GSSP for the Holocene (the current interglacial):

http://www.stratigraphy.org/GSSP/Holocene.pdf

It is not well defined in Antarctica (except indirectly), but otherwise it is fairly global. Temperatures changed something like 5 degrees in 50 years. Now that is global warming!

John Tillman
Reply to  tty
August 8, 2019 2:01 pm

Just another reason why the Holocene doesn’t merit epoch status. That supposed GSSP is unlike all the others.

Nor was the YD even the last cold snap during the glacial-interglacial transition. That would be the 8.2 Ka event.

There is nothing mysterious about the YD requiring highly improbable special pleading. It was a garden variety cold snap, akin to the other Dryases and similar fluctuations in prior glacial terminations.

As David notes, what is more unusual is the warmth of the preceding hot snap. The extent to which the YD was deeper than the previous Dryases can be explained by the larger than average quantity of fresh meltwater pulse injected into the oceans during the warm spell.

August 8, 2019 2:30 am

The academicene is easily defined – it starts at the PC boundary.

Although perhaps academic-ob-cene might be more appropriate.

Alasdair
August 8, 2019 2:45 am

They only have 12 years to make up their minds. Better get a wiggle on.

Tom Abbott
August 8, 2019 4:46 am

From the article: “The drive to officially recognize the Anthropocene may, in fact, be political rather than scientific.”

There’s no *may* about it. It’s definitely political. They think if they can establish some kind of human fingerprint, or just make it look like they have, then that makes their case for human-caused Global Warming stronger. They want to be able to say: See how humans changed this, this, and this, and now they are changing the Earth’s atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Humans are in control of Mother Nature’s atmosphere, is the message.

Michael H Anderson
August 8, 2019 5:25 am

What was that I’ve been saying about hundreds of thousands of new science grads every year and the likelihood of all of them engaging in work that is actually of value?

Gary Pearse
August 8, 2019 5:43 am

If there is reason to consider an Anthropocene, the elephant in the room is the Global Great Greening! A new era of super trees and other flora, a 20% increase in forests and general “leafing out”, a massive increase in habitat, ocean edition in plankton explosion, all courtesy of mankind’s use of fossil fuels!!! Let’s go for it! Alarmists pretend it doesn’t even exist. Alarmist don’t credit doubling of harvests and spread of prosperity. When the cost/benefit is calculated, we we should be cutting cheques for the fossil fuel industry.

The only palpable sign of climate change thus far is this magnificent greening! If you want your anthropocene, this is it.

GregK
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 6:29 am

A Greening may possibly leave a signature in anoxic lake sediments

Shotgun DNA sequencing provides information that allows old plant communities to be reconstructed.
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2019.00189/full
And potentially what animals were present…
https://www.eva.mpg.de/documents/AAAS/Slon_Neandertal_Science_2017_2426338.pdf

Gary Pearse
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 11:58 am

Fossils?

GregK
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 8, 2019 9:09 pm

Is old DNA a “fossil” ?

It wasn’t given much consideration in the 19th century

Gary Pearse
Reply to  GregK
August 9, 2019 12:03 pm

Plant, plankton, expanded numbers of critters could leave a sedimentary record.

Bruce Cobb
August 8, 2019 5:53 am

We appear to be in the Hubrisocene era. We’re in charge. Riiiiight.

Mark
August 8, 2019 6:08 am

So they took a vote and thereby invented new “science”. Binding no less.

“After a decade of investigating this question, the AWG decided in May that humans had, in fact, left an indelible geological mark. In a binding vote in May, 29 of the 34 members opted to move forward with developing a proposal supporting the designation of the Anthropocene.”

Billy
August 8, 2019 7:22 am

Science is not voted on by a committee. It is determined by evidence and repeatable proof.

tty
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 12:19 pm

“though in practice no single GSSP is likely to be directly correlatable over the whole world”

The Chicxulub impact must come pretty close though. The fallout layer must be coeval within at most a few days all over the World. Admittedly it is not preserved in most places, but there are sites where it is preserved on every continent and in all oceans (I’m not sure about the Arctic Ocean though).

John Tillman
Reply to  tty
August 8, 2019 5:16 pm

The “golden spike” marker for the onset of the Danian Age/Stage of the Paleocene Epoch of the Paleogene Period of the Cenozoic Era is the iridium layer at the El Kef site in Tunisia, blasted thence from the Yucatan.

You’d think that the Arctic Ocean would show traces, although the former Interior Seaway no longer ran all the way north from the Gulf of Mexico. The then much narrower and truncated seaway did however survive enough to force tsunami debris up the river valley which gave us the aptly-named Hell Creek Formation, Montana.

tty
Reply to  John Tillman
August 9, 2019 10:45 am

The Hell Creek formation spans much of the Maastrichtian and is by no means a tsunamite deposit. There is an apparent tsunamite at the recently described Tanis site, though it may have been caused by a seiche rather than a true tsunami.

And it is very likely that the K-Pg boundary layer occurs in the Arctic Ocean as well, but to my knowledge it has not yet been found there.

August 8, 2019 7:39 am

Well, I had my say on the Anthrop-Obscene long ago – you can find it here: https://insuspectterrane.com/2015/03/24/anthop-obscene/

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 2:31 pm

Humans started affecting the fossil record even before the Holocene, during and indeed even before the Last Glacial Maximum.

We wiped out the Australian megafauna from ~52 Ka to 18 Ka, for instance. Then we did the same in Eurasia and the Americas partly before the Holocene as well as during it, and finally isolated oceanic islands more recently. Same for some microfauna.

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 3:20 pm

Of course you’re right about the alleged Holocene GSSP.

But it’s entirely possible that paleontologists a million years from now might note the sudden disappearance of Pleistocene megafauna and other smaller fossil species in a brief c. 50,000 year interval around the world.

Rocks prserve fossils orders of magnitude older than Pleistocene remains.

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 4:16 pm

Stages of the Pleistocene, Pliocene and Miocene are based upon first appearance or extinction of various marine algae and forams as GSSP markers, so why not the disappearance of large terrestrial mammal species?

John Tillman
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 4:19 pm

Indeed, all the way back in the Cambrian, stages are marked by appearance or disappearance of trilobite and conodont species.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  John Tillman
August 9, 2019 6:02 am

We need evidence that the “wiping out” was primarily caused by hmans and was not natural. Good references are? Geoff S

Taphonomic
August 8, 2019 10:35 am

From the Nature article: “The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), a committee of 34 researchers formed by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) in 2009, is leading the work, with the aim of crafting a proposal to formally recognize the Anthropocene.”

When your job description is to “…recognize the Anthropocene.” then other alternatives are excluded by definition. So much for multiple working hypotheses.

They can do what they want. Geologic maps will still show Qal or Qac and not and Anthropocene crap. Just reinforces one of my longtime observations: Stratigraphers are strange people.

Taphonomic
Reply to  David Middleton
August 8, 2019 5:51 pm

Exactly, it would still be Quaternary.

That Nature can’t get the mission statement right says something about Nature.

John Tillman
August 8, 2019 11:36 am

The proposed fake geologic interval is an epoch rather than an era, but even epochs are much longer than a human lifespan.

As noted, the Holocene shouldn’t even qualify as an epoch, or even an age or stage.

Here are the durations of the valid Mesozoic and Cenozoic Era epochs, in approximate millions of years, as now recognized:

Early Triassic: 5
Middle Triasic: 10
Late Triassic: 36
Early Jurassic: 27
Middle Jurassic: 8
Late Jurassic: 20
Early Cretaceous: 46
Late Cretaceous: 34
Paleocene: 10
Eocene: 22
Oligocene: 11
Miocene: 18
Pliocene: 2.75
Pleistocene: 2.58 (plus 11,400 years of the bogus Holocene)

The Cretaceous Period really needs a Middle Epoch, expecially because the ages which would compose it were unusually warm, with high ocean transgression onto the continents.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
August 8, 2019 12:12 pm

Anthropocene advocates have suggested the appearance of man-made Pu-239 as marker of the anti-scientific, if PC, epoch’s onset. Too bad that an epoch even as brief as the Pleistocene as currently recognized would allow for more than 100 halvings of Pu-239, so that vanishingly little would remain at the end of such a bogus epoch. Its half-life is 24,100 years. Tiny amounts of the isotope have been discovered to occur naturally.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
August 8, 2019 1:21 pm

Events in human evolution per Paleozoic period, then Mesozoic and Cenozoic epoch:

Cambrian: Phylum Chordata evolves, then vertebrates arise.
Ordovician: Jawed vertebrates develop.
Silurian: Bony fish diverge from cartilaginous fish (such as modern sharks, skates and rays)
Devonian: Bony fish split into ray-finned and lobe-finned (such as coelacanth, lungfish and tetrapod) lineages, and development of “amphibian” tetrapods from lobe-fins
Carboniferous Period: More terrestrial amniote anapsids and divergence of synapsids from diapsid reptiles.
Permian Period: Ever more mammal-like synapsids, eg Dimetrodon, leading to therapsids
Early Triassic: Clade Eucynodontia (mammals and most non-mammalian cynodont therapsids)

Middle Triasic: Clade Probainognathia
Late Triassic: Clade Mammaliaformes (descended from the most recent common ancestor of Order Morganucodonta and crown group mammals, ie monotremes, marsupials and placentals), Clade Theriiformes (mammals more closely related to therians than monotremes) and Infraclass Holotheria
Early Jurassic: Diversification in extinct and still living mammalian lineages, as Pangaea started breaking up
Middle Jurassic: Continued diversification
Late Jurassic: Subclass Theria (marsupial relative metatherians and placental ancestor eutherians)
Early Cretaceous: Clade Eutheria (possibly latest Jurassic)
Late Cretaceous: Cohort Placentalia, Clade Boreoeutheria (Superorder Laurasiatheria and euarchontaglires), Superorder Euarchontoglires (Glires, ie rodents and lagomorphs, and euarchontans) and Grandorder Euarchonta (Order Scandentia, eg tree shrews, and primatomorphs)

Paleocene: Mirorder Primatomorpha (Order Dermoptera, eg colugos, and primates), Order Primates (prosimian strepsirrhines, eg lemurs, and haplorines) and Suborder Haplorhini (tarsiers and simiformes, aka anthropoids)
Eocene: Infraorder Simiiformes (New World monkeys and catarrhines)
Oligocene: Clade Catarrhini (Old World monkeys and apes; possibly latest Eocene)
Miocene: Super family Hominoidea (apes), Family Hominidae (great apes), Subfamily Homininae (African great apes), Tribe Hominini (upright walking African great apes) and Genus Australopithecus
Pliocene: Genus Homo, species habilis
Pleistocene: Various species, eg erectus, and subspecies, to include sapiens sapiens late in the epoch

MarkW
August 8, 2019 4:54 pm

“than has popular culture, which has already embraced the Anthropocene”

Outside of left wing activists, I have never heard anyone use this term except as a point of derision.

Gary Pearse
August 8, 2019 7:27 pm

When the bodies of humans start piling up in the strata we can call it the Néomarxistocene.

GregK
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 8, 2019 9:15 pm

Might be detectable in the Ukraine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holodomor

Matt G
August 10, 2019 7:43 pm

This sums it up barely a second in a human’s life expectancy.

Other subdivisions reflect the evolution of life; the Archean and Proterozoic are both eons, the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic are eras of the Phanerozoic eon. The three million year Quaternary period, the time of recognizable humans, is too small to be visible at this scale.

The Anthropocene if ever used to represent a geological period would only be considered a major event at best being the shortest duration definition like the LIA. (Little Ice Age)

An ‘Age’ being smaller than an ‘Epoch’ is still nearly a million years in duration.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_time_scale

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