The Last Gasp of the Anthropocene?

Guest “geologizing” by David Middleton

The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) was established in 2009 to see if there was a way to geologically differentiate an Anthropocene Epoch from the Holocene Epoch. The notion has always been preposterous because the only true difference between the Holocene and the preceding Pleistocene Epoch is the impact of humans on the planet. Otherwise, the Holocene has just been a run of the mill interglacial stage, geologically indistinct from the prior Pleistocene interglacial stages. After thirteen years, the AWG is finally prepared to present a recommendation for an official Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), also known as a “golden spike.” GSSP’s are stratigraphic markers that define the beginning and/or end of a geologic time period.

Scientists say they’ve found a site that marks a new chapter in Earth’s history

By Katie Hunt, CNN

Published 1:31 PM EDT, Tue July 11, 2023

CNN — 

Scientists have identified the geological site that they say best reflects a proposed new epoch called the Anthropocene — a major step toward changing the official timeline of Earth’s history.

The term Anthropocene, first proposed in 2000 to reflect how profoundly human activity has altered the world, has become a commonly used academic buzzword uniting different fields of study.

“When it’s 8 billion people all having an impact on the planet, there’s bound to be a repercussion,” said Colin Waters, an honorary professor…


The AWG, a group currently comprised of 35 geologists, has been working since 2009 to make the Anthropocene part of Earth’s official timeline. The group determined in 2016 that the Anthropocene epoch began around 1950 — the start of the era of nuclear weapons tests, the geochemical traces of which can be found around the world.


Birthplace of the Anthropocene

For the Anthropocene, the proposed golden spike location is sediment cored from the bed of Crawford Lake that reveals the geochemical traces of nuclear bomb tests, specifically plutonium — a radioactive element widely detected across the world in coral reefs, ice cores and peat bogs.


The AWG will present a proposal to make the Anthropocene official to the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy later this summer. If the subcommission’s members agree with a 60% majority, the proposal will then pass on to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which will also have to vote and agree with a 60% majority for the proposal to move onward for ratification. Both bodies are part of the International Union of Geological Sciences, which represents more than 1 million geoscientists around the world.

A final decision is expected at the 37th International Geological Congress in Busan, South Korea, in August 2024.



The odds of the Anthropocene being ratified as a geologic epoch are slightly lower than…

Stan Finney, an actual professor of geology, and Secretary General of the International Union of Geological Sciences summed it up best…

He also feels that the push to officially recognize the Anthropocene may, in fact, be more political than driven by on-the-ground geology. The term was coined in 2000 not by a geologist but by the late atmospheric chemist and Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen — apparently in off the cuff remarks at a conference.

Finney said it’s more accurate to describe humanity’s profound impact on Earth as an ongoing geological event rather than a formal epoch with a precise global start date. It’s also possible, he said, that stratigraphers may decide that the Anthropocene doesn’t rise to the level of epoch, but it could be the fourth age of the Holocene — the much less catchy Crawfordian Age.


Finney and Edwards outlined many of the misleading, if not outright false, statements that Anthropocene proponents have made in this GSA article, particularly noting the political nature of their advocacy.

Political Statement

When we explain the fundamental difference of the Anthropocene from the chronostratigraphic units established by the International Commission on Stratigraphy to proponents for its recognition, they often reply that the human impact on the Earth system must be officially recognized, if for no other reason than to make the public and governmental agencies aware of that impact. Or, as the editorial in Nature (2011) argued, official recognition would encourage cross-disciplinary science and a “mindset” to understand and to take control of the current transformation. However, it is political action that is required to meet the ultimate goals of ameliorating human impact, which raises the question of the ICS making a political statement. Pope Francis has spoken out about the human-induced impact on the Earth system—so too have leaders of many nations, the United Nations, and numerous non-governmental organizations. In California, Governor Jerry Brown has initiated and promoted many legislative actions with the goal of ameliorating human-induced impact. Is the role of the ICS to make such a political statement? Would official recognition of the term Anthropocene as a unit of the ICS Chart realistically have any effect on promoting cross-disciplinary science or recognizing that we are in the driver’s seat as Nature editorialized? Or, is that not already the case?

The evolution of vascular land plants and their spread across the continents from late in the Devonian to early in the Permian completely altered Earth’s surface, left a significant stratigraphic record, and dramatically altered CO2 and O2 concentrations in the atmosphere and oceans far greater than humans are projected to do (Berner and Canfield, 1989; Berner, 1998). Yet there is no drive to name a unit in the ICS Chart that formally recognizes that profound and irreversible change to the Earth system. Perhaps promotion of the Anthropocene is anthropocentric as well as political?

The “Atomic Age,” a term coined by The New York Times journalist William L. Lawrence in September 1946, has an identical boundary and content to the Anthropocene proposal of Zalasiewicz et al. (2015). By rights, the Atomic Age has nomenclatural priority. If the Anthropocene is not a political statement, those who value priority should prefer the Atomic Age.

Finney and Edwards

This bears repeating:

If the Anthropocene is not a political statement, those who value priority should prefer the Atomic Age.

Finney and Edwards

The CNN article goes on to note that folks farther to the left than the AWG don’t like the term Anthropocene because only capitalism is to blame for everything bad that has ever happened in human history.

Others object to the term Anthropocene because it implicates all of humanity in the activity that has irrevocably altered the planet. Some researchers say the changes are the doing of a powerful and elite minority and that the epoch would be better named the Capitalocene.


If you want a fast track to a migraine headache, open up the Capitalocene link and try reading the gobbledygook.

These people a certifiably bat schist crazy…

Previous studies of the lake’s sediments revealed two major periods of change: one lasting from the thirteenth to fifteenth century, when Indigenous peoples speaking the Iroquois language lived in the area, and another beginning in the nineteenth century, marking the arrival of European colonists. The biggest number of changes appear in layers from the middle of the twentieth century, a period dubbed the great acceleration3 of human impacts.

Those layers document the rise of radioactive plutonium fallout from nuclear bomb testing; the working group chose that rise as the marker for the Anthropocene’s start. Cores taken at Crawford in 2019 and 2022 showed that plutonium traces increased in the early 1950s, but McCarthy and colleagues have collected an extra core this year to perform a more detailed analysis. Depending on their findings, the year proposed for the golden spike could be 1950 — when several environmental changes accelerated — or 1952, when plutonium levels rose sharply. “The difference is 2 millimetres, but philosophically it matters,” McCarthy says. If 1950 is chosen, the golden-spike core will be the one gathered in 2019, which resides at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. If 1952 is chosen, it will be this year’s core.

No more cores

McCarthy does not plan to collect cores at Crawford Lake again. The lake is sentient according to Indigenous groups who live or have lived in the area, and taking samples from the lake violates that personhood.

In the coming months, the working group will submit three ideas to the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy. First, Crawford Lake should serve as the golden spike for the Anthropocene’s start, with the year to be determined. Second, the Anthropocene should become a geological epoch ending the Holocene; the name of its first age could be the Crawfordian age. And finally, some of the eight sites that didn’t win the golden-spike designation could serve as supplementary sites to help define the Anthropocene across geological environments.


I don’t know which of the following is more laughable:

  1. Debating whether or not a geologic time period started in 1950 or 1952.
  2. An Epoch that’s only 6-8 years longer than I’ve been alive.
  3. Having a “golden spike” that won’t be there in a few million years.
  4. Declaring the “golden spike” off limits to future evaluation because it would violate the lake’s “personhood.”
  5. Spending nearly 20% of a geologic time period, looking for evidence that it exists… This is like taking 3.2 million years to find evidence that the Miocene Epoch deserved to be differentiated from the preceding Oligocene Epoch. Geologic time refers to periods of hundreds of thousands to hundreds of million years, not hundreds of years… Much less seven decades.

Plutonium is not forever

The primary basis for starting the proposed Anthropocene Epoch around 1950 is the presence of plutonium in sediments, coral reefs and ice sheets.

Plutonium is a radioactive metallic element with the atomic number 94. It was discovered in 1940 by scientists studying how to split atoms to make atomic bombs. Plutonium is created in a reactor when uranium atoms absorb neutrons. Nearly all plutonium is man-made.

Plutonium predominantly emits alpha particles – a type of radiation that is easily stopped and has a short range. It also emits neutrons, beta particles and gamma rays. It is considered toxic, in part, because if it were to be inhaled it could deposit in the lungs and eventually cause damage.

There are five “common” isotopes of plutonium, Pu-238, Pu-239, Pu-240, Pu-241, and Pu-242. These are all “fissionable” – the atom’s nucleus can easily split apart if it is struck by a neutron.

The different isotopes have different “half-lives” – the time it takes to lose half of its radioactivity. Pu-239 has a half-life of 24,100 years and Pu-241’s half-life is 14.4 years. Substances with shorter half-lives decay more quickly than those with longer half-lives, so they emit more energetic radioactivity.

Like any radioactive isotopes, plutonium isotopes transform when they decay. They might become different plutonium isotopes or different elements, such as uranium or neptunium. Many of these “daughter products” are themselves radioactive.


239Pu has a very long half-life of 24,100 years. If you start out with 1 gram of 239Pu, in just over 1 million years, you would have a sample that is 99.99999999998% composed of 235U. While naturally occurring uranium-235 is uncommon, it does exist. Over a geologically meaningful time-span, the anthropogenic “fingerprint” would no longer definitively be of anthropogenic origin, assuming the sediment core was lithified and preserved in the rock record. At best, the dawn of the Anthropocene would be represented by an anomalous uranium isotope ratio.

A likely compromise

While the IUGS is unlikely to ratify an Anthropocene Epoch, they do seem to be open to recognizing it as “geological event” rather than a formal geologic time period.

In contrast to the definition of a new Series/Epoch of the GTS, the designation of a geological event has no such formalization procedures nor GSSP requirements. Yet, to designate the Anthropocene as a geological event would not decrease its significance in Earth’s history. In fact, it would place the Anthropocene with other great transformations of the Earth system. Consider the example of the Great Oxidation Event, which occurred roughly 2.4-2.1 billion years ago and demonstrates that humans are not the first organisms to contribute to a global transformation of Earth (Sagan, 2020). Before the Great Oxidation Event, Earth had a weakly reducing atmosphere in which oxidation was prevented. After cyanobacteria began to produce oxygen as the waste product of photosynthesis, atmospheric oxygen levels rose and radically changed the course of planetary development, including the evolution of multicellular life and the colonization of land following the development of an ozone layer (Schirrmeister et al., 2013). Despite its firm basis in stratigraphy (Buick, 2008; Eriksson and Cheney, 1992), the Great Oxidation Event is not used as part of the GTS but is recognized as a major transformative phase of the Earth system. The same is true for the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE), and for the continental invasion by land plants that transformed the Earth system and stratigraphic records during the Devonian Period (Le Hir et al., 2011; Dahl and Arens, 2020). These examples emphasize that geologic events are not points in time: they are significant happenings or occurrences that are heterogeneous over time and across the Earth.

Gibbard et al., 2021

I discussed thieir paper in more detail in this 2021 post.

We already have an Anthropocene. It’s called the Holocene and really doesn’t deserve its status as an Epoch. Apart from the phrase “mass extinctions,” this is a fairly reasonable characterization of the human-related geological event.

The entire discussion is kind of pointless. Even if humans do leave definitive proof in the rock record that we significantly altered the “Earth system”… Proof that outlives us as a species and is preserved in the rock record, long after we’re gone… Who’s going to see it? Space aliens? Whatever lifeforms evolve to replace humans?

But, it’s always enjoyable to ridicule these folks…

There’s also a problem with using the word element, “-cene.” The current naming convention applies “-cene” to Cenozoic Era epochs. Instead of the Anthropocene Event, I would call it, the Anthropolitan Event… Better yet… The Fabulous Anthropolitan Event!

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


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

Gibbard PL, Bauer AM, Edgeworth M, Ruddiman WF, Gill JL, Merritts DJ, Finney SC, Edwards LE, Walker MJC, Maslin M, Ellis EC.  A practical solution: the Anthropocene is a geological event, not a formal epoch.  Episodes 2022;45:349-357.

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David Dibbell
July 13, 2023 6:32 am

I like “Anthropolitan.” It makes me think of ice cream. How about vanilla with thick swirls of dark chocolate fudge and caramel? Approved.

Richard Page
Reply to  David Dibbell
July 13, 2023 8:13 am

Yeah it needs something more, something to do with the ‘anthro’ part.

I know – I’ll put my thumb in it for ya!

David Dibbell
Reply to  Richard Page
July 13, 2023 9:23 am

Or just add some academia nuts!

Reply to  David Dibbell
July 13, 2023 1:07 pm

Given where it’s coming from, just make sure it is actually fudge.

David Dibbell
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2023 1:15 pm

A fair point.

John Shewchuk
July 13, 2023 6:32 am

We are still in the Pleistocene since we still have ice caps. Political correctness is out of control.

July 13, 2023 6:46 am

“Debating whether or not a geologic time period started in 1950 or 1952.”

Well, as we are dealing with consensus science … it has to be 1951.

John Hultquist
Reply to  1saveenergy
July 13, 2023 8:23 am

Would that not be “averaging” science? Fits with the planet’s average temperature.

J Boles
July 13, 2023 6:50 am
Reply to  J Boles
July 13, 2023 10:00 pm


Reply to  Duker
July 14, 2023 3:30 am

Why do you call this news “nonsense”? Is it factually incorrect?

Richard Page
July 13, 2023 6:57 am

Nope. We are Homo Sapiens therefore they should call it the Homopolitan era (that’ll make them pause). sarc

Pat Frank
Reply to  Richard Page
July 14, 2023 2:48 pm

Good point, Richard. “Anthropo” is nondescript. It refers equally well to gorillas and chimpanzees.

In a few million years, the only thing left to mark our passing may be scraps of ptfe. But it won’t be pervasive enough to warrant a whole geological epoch. Still PTFEocene has a geological ring to it.

July 13, 2023 7:23 am

Noting this headline embedded in the above article:
“Scientists say they’ve found a site that marks a new chapter in Earth’s history”,
I was very hopeful that this would refer to
760 United Nations Plaza
New York City, New York, US
(alternatively, 40°44′58″N 73°58′5″W).

This is the site where the IPCC was created in 1988. The IPCC, of course, marked a revolutionary new chapter in Earth’s climatology history by creating the Obscenocene . . . the incredible combination of the two memes that (a) mankind is now the predominate cause of “climate change”, and (b) that mankind can stabilize Earth’s climate to prevent any further change in it.

Well, my hopes were dashed here . . . maybe in another ten years . . .

general custer
July 13, 2023 7:30 am

First, Crawford Lake should serve as the golden spike for the Anthropocene’s start, with the year to be determined.

No way. It should be Kim Kardashian’s birthday, October 21, 1980.

Richard Page
Reply to  general custer
July 13, 2023 9:30 am

I didn’t think Kardashian’s had birth dates. ‘Use by’ dates certainly, ‘best before’ dates probably but not birth dates!

Reply to  Richard Page
July 13, 2023 4:22 pm

Richard, sometimes one also finds a “discard after” date, often on drugs.

Such are fully apropos your post.

July 13, 2023 7:35 am

After thirteen years, the AWG is finally prepared to present a recommendation for an official Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), also known as a “golden spike.” 

Called the “golden spike” due to the incredible uplift in human longevity, comfort, survival against the weather, and so on, and so on…. brought to you by coal, oil and gas.

Thank you life-enhancing fuels.

Gary Pearse
July 13, 2023 7:40 am

The biggest change wrought by humans, which is verboten to even utter, is the Great Greening of the Planet. You don’t need a mass spectrometer to detect it. You can see it from outer space.

You could broaden the “Golden Spike” idea to include the disappearance of the earlier Carboniferous “Golden Spike” at the end of the Devonian 360million years ago to the beginning of Permian 300million years ago, by mining all the coal and burning it, thereby disappearing the “Spike” that marks a 60million year old geological period, no less
and shifting it to the present as marking the beginning of the “New Carboniferous”. Now, were talking brilliant recycling and a sustainability that can’t be beat!

Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 13, 2023 8:35 am

The golden spike for the first stage of the Carboniferous is a lamprey-like conodont species in southern France, but it has biostratigraphic problems, so might be changed.

A conodont also marks the start of the Permian. It’s in the Urals of Kazakhstan.

Golden spikes are usually fossils, so an Anthropocene Epoch could start with the oldest Homo jawbone with a chin. That would be about 200,000 years ago in Ethiopia. But our genus began affecting the planet before then. At least since control of fire.

Reply to  Milo
July 13, 2023 12:13 pm

Hard to say what megafaunal species was the first to go extinct by human action, but it might have lived and died out in Australia about 47,000 years ago. Even earlier in Africa and Asia are also possible.

Ed Zuiderwijk
July 13, 2023 7:42 am

The BBC was also flogging the dead horse earlier this week.

July 13, 2023 8:06 am

Anthropolitan sounds a bit pro human. They’ll never go for that.

Richard Page
Reply to  strativarius
July 13, 2023 8:16 am

Hmm yes – they’d probably want it to be ‘Transpolitan’ at that.

July 13, 2023 8:18 am

The hubris of the anthropocenians, as if humans are the most important thing to have ever happened. It’s a strangely Biblical concept for people who purport to be scientists and commonly reject religious ideas like man is the purpose for Earth’s existence. The definition of the Holocene is also anthropocentric, as if the current interglacial starting around 12,000 years ago is any different than the many that preceded it in the Pleistocene. As Wikipedia notes:

Although it is considered an epoch, the Holocene is not significantly different from previous interglacial intervals within the Pleistocene.

The Luddites, population bombers, environmentalist nutters, climate kooks, and other misanthropes can’t help making everything about the 8 billion people on the planet just doing their own thing; people who wouldn’t miss the doomsayers if they weren’t around to nag them about their supposedly destructive ways, and would be a lot happier and prosperous without their oppressive, regressive policy proposals.

Reply to  stinkerp
July 13, 2023 8:23 pm

There are people who are malicious for maliciousness’ sake.

John Hultquist
July 13, 2023 8:36 am

Thanks David – a nice summary.

Earth science students are exposed to the geologic time scale in the first class of those disciplines. Any student smart enough to pass the class (C- ?) would find questionable the fit of “anthropocene” into the rock record of Earth.

July 13, 2023 8:43 am

This article makes me – well sad. When the next ice age starts, Crawford lake sediment will be scraped clean – personhood or not.

July 13, 2023 8:52 am

Ending the Pleistocene at the Holocene inception will eventually be shown an error. The Holocene is just another interglacial within the Pleistocene.

John Shewchuk
Reply to  Shoki
July 13, 2023 9:15 am

Exactly right. We still have ice caps, which is the original definition of the Pleistocene.

Reply to  John Shewchuk
July 13, 2023 9:08 pm

The Pleistocene is based on a marine alga extinction and a magnetic polarity, not ice caps. It means “practically recent lifeforms”.

Ice caps formed in the Oligocene, 34 Ma. In the Pleistocene, ice caps spread onto Northern Hemisphere continents, although some existed in the Pliocene. Antarctic ice caps actually retreated some in the long Miocene Epoch.

But, yes, the Holocene is just another garden variety interglacial, but with human caused megafaunal extinctions before and during it.

John Shewchuk
Reply to  Milo
July 14, 2023 2:13 am

Just more rewriting of the original definition – and hoping the ice caps melt. That’s not how science works. We still have ice caps. The Anthro.. is just more wishful thinking that man will melt the ice caps. This is called formalized scare-mongering.

Reply to  John Shewchuk
July 14, 2023 2:42 pm

The Pleistocene is not defined by its ice caps. Like most geologic ages, epochs, periods, eras and eons, it’s defined by its lifeforms. Most golden spike markers are fossils in specific locations. For instance, the Paleozoic (Old Life) and Mesozoic (Middle Life) Eras preceded our present Cenozoic Era in the Phanerozoic Eon.

The Cenozoic Ice “Age” began in the Oligocene, with ice sheet formation on Antarctica. Even the Northern Hemisphere had some ice caps in the Pliocene, if not the Miocene, but continental ice sheets didn’t form here until the Pleistocene, thanks to formation of the Isthmus of Panama.

Javier Vinós
Reply to  Shoki
July 13, 2023 1:32 pm

I like the Holocene. I’ve grown attached to it. I would not like to live in any other epoch, not even the Anthropocene.

Rud Istvan
July 13, 2023 9:10 am

Nicely ridiculed. Don’t know what is funnier, a geological golden spike that disappears through radioactive decay, or not coring further because Natives say the lake’s feelings would be hurt.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Rud Istvan
July 13, 2023 2:10 pm

We just have to patiently explain to the lake that the core drill is safe and effective. It’s a pandemic of the uncored. If it still refuses then it won’t be allowed to participate in any religious rituals with its Iroquois friends.

Ben Vorlich
July 13, 2023 9:16 am

I read some years ago that Roman use of lead could be identified in Greenland Ice. That being the case surely 1CE is the start of the Anthropocene?

Gunga Din
Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2023 12:36 pm

for the end of the lead-o-cene”
Since we (That is, our politicians) are still being led by the “Settled Science”, perhaps the “Led-O-Cene” isn’t over yet?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2023 12:52 pm

Future geologists won’t be able to discriminate at the resolution of individual years. No amount of technology can compensate for negligible sedimentation rates or sediment particles that are larger than the average annual sedimentation rate.

John Hultquist
Reply to  David Middleton
July 13, 2023 7:12 pm

I think the “Lead-o-cene” ended when we were told not to drink out of pewter qoblets.

abolition man
Reply to  David Middleton
July 14, 2023 3:00 am

Shouldn’t that be the plumb-o-cene?
As you excellent article points out so well, dumb-o-cene is more apropos. The stupidity of fanatical religious zealots seems, as Einstein stated, beyond measure.
Once again, geology ROCKS!!

July 13, 2023 9:28 am

It is estimated that since 2000, such weather-related production losses have averaged around ONLY 0.3% of EDF’s annual production.

We should be using gas as a transition power source to a fully nuclear future

July 13, 2023 9:29 am

Now I saw this, Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), and I though that is a nice way vs. the old WAGs, wives and girlfriends, terminology used here is OZ, though probably elsewhere also.
But wrong it was an attempt to look at some nebulous geological terminology. OK all good. (Sounds great but for real?)

But then I hit the “golden spike” reference. Ho hum.. Sounds, well fishy, back to the WAG thing again are we? 
So this is all really a geological social issue involving sports players, wives, and girlfriends buried in sediments. 
Now that makes sense.
As for the lake I am sure in modern time, like now it definitely identifies itself as a person and hence not suitable to be drilled or cored. . 
The rest if, for real, makes little sense except for someone looking for a climate change with geological and social implications grant.
I just love these people that provide humour the left does not realise they provide. 

Joseph Zorzin
July 13, 2023 9:39 am

“The term Anthropocene, first proposed in 2000 to reflect how profoundly human activity has altered the world, has become a commonly used academic buzzword uniting different fields of study.”

Altered the world in a social/economic sense but only infinitesimally in a geologic sense. Virtually zero.

July 13, 2023 9:39 am

In the Anthropocene era, energy bills became unaffordable, leading to poor health, increased poverty and societal regression, just what the globalists want

Joseph Zorzin
July 13, 2023 9:43 am

“McCarthy does not plan to collect cores at Crawford Lake again. The lake is sentient according to Indigenous groups who live or have lived in the area, and taking samples from the lake violates that personhood.”

Give me a break!

Richard Page
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
July 13, 2023 11:12 am

But that obviously didn’t stop him the first time.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Richard Page
July 13, 2023 12:55 pm

He has had an epiphany and is now officially ‘woke.’

Reply to  Richard Page
July 13, 2023 1:12 pm

Now that he has the results he needs, he doesn’t want anyone trying to replicate his work.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Richard Page
July 13, 2023 2:16 pm

It was consensual but she’s moved on.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
July 13, 2023 8:31 pm

no breaks for wicked deniers!

Hans Erren
July 13, 2023 10:08 am

1950 is already known as the start of « After Present »

Kit P
July 13, 2023 10:13 am

I recently heard that the trouble with living in a golden age is that you do not know it until it is over.

We are living in a period between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the Next Glacial Maximum (NMG).

I think geologist should be talking about the NGM. It is going to be bad.

I am currently in the beautiful Cascade Mountains with many glaciers. Soon I will be heading to Califonia for a granddaughter’s birthday. There is a heat advisory and I predict many headlines about how bad it is.

I remember how great is was and the temperatures are about the same. Maybe we will not go to the state fair (110 F) but the SF zoo (70 F) instead.

July 13, 2023 10:40 am

How much plutonium is found in these deposits? Parts per billion? Parts per trillion?
After it all decays to uranium, will there be enough excess uranium to form an anomalous layer?

Beyond that, a single site defining a new world wide epoch?
To be a new epoch, wouldn’t the transition have to be, well, world wide?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2023 1:08 pm

I’m pretty sure that the concentration is near the level of the limit of detection. Because the plutonium isotopes with short half-lives are converted to U235, with a half-life of 704 million years and are no longer giving off detectable emissions, they will be more difficult to detect.

Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2023 8:35 pm

I have read that a single radioactive atom is detectable by what it emits upon decay. Maybe the ban on confirmation cores is because there was really only a few particles detected.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  AndyHce
July 13, 2023 8:47 pm

The shorter the half-life, the more intense the radiation flux.

Joe Gordon
July 13, 2023 11:17 am

The Anthropocene alone is so… 2015. What they’re really after is not only an Anthropocene, but the subsequent Hyper-Anthropocene.

According to their models, geology has reached a “tipping point” and we will have a new epoch every 6-7 months if we don’t ban gas stoves, air conditioners, cows and Moms for Liberty.

Eric Vieira
July 13, 2023 11:58 am

“When it’s 8 billion people all having an impact on the planet, there’s bound to be a repercussion” … Well, I’ve read that one could put the whole world’s population on the surface of Lake Constance in Germany (about half of Lake St. Clair/MI). It can’t be all that impactful, under normal circumstances (no nuclear war or something like that).

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Eric Vieira
July 13, 2023 1:11 pm

One might be able to pile all the cadavers there, but living people require food, shelter, infrastructure, and factories, increasing their impact.

Reply to  Eric Vieira
July 13, 2023 1:17 pm

I don’t remember the exact amount of land, but I read a few years back, that if you gave each person something like 100 square feet of land, you could fit the entire world’s population within the city limits of Dallas, Texas.
And it would still have a lower population density than New York City.

Joe Gordon
Reply to  MarkW
July 13, 2023 1:40 pm

Easily. The city limits of Dallas cover 343 square miles. If each person on earth required 100 square feet of land, that would cover about 289 square miles, according to the world population clock (8.044 billion). Fruitdale, Alabama’s (current population, 2,429) limits best match that amount.

What makes this a little terrifying is that 150 years ago, the current city limits of Shrewsbury, Vermont (current population, 1,056) would be more than sufficient to handle the 100-square-foot requirements of the then-world population of about 1.4 billion.

People living in ivory towers (population density, too high to calculate) seem to view the world as entirely paved over and dotted with oil wells. It isn’t.

Reply to  Joe Gordon
July 13, 2023 11:36 pm

Another way to look at it is how much land area does Earth offer per person. It’s a surprising 4.56 acres per person.

Please check my arithmetic, but I think that’s right.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Milo
July 14, 2023 9:20 pm

From that you have to subtract the places that are not inhabitible because of inaccessibility (Can’t get there from here!), Steepness (most mountainous areas), lack of oxygen (generally above 10,000 feet elevation), lack of water (Sahara and Atacama deserts), covered with saline lakes, swamps, glaciers, major earthquake faults (one can build on them, but it is not advisable) and other places without good stability such as unconsolidated materials along coast lines, flood plains of rivers (as those in Vermont are discovering to their dismay). One might counter that most of those are problems can can be worked around with engineering solutions. However, to do so, will require more land reserved for industry and natural resources.

Then from that you have to subtract the arable land necessary to produce food, buildings and parking lots for industry, infrastructure (roads, power-lines, and pipelines), and deal with the land that has been withdrawn for national parks, or possibly contested by indigenous people as “sacred grounds.” Lastly, one needs to reserve land necessary for harvesting timber and extracting natural resources.

Doing that rigorously, one might be lucky to have 1 acre for two people and 11 dogs, on average.

Gunga Din
July 13, 2023 12:43 pm

Name an epoch before it’s over?
Based on what?
As far as settling the naming our present time goes, perhaps it would have been better if everybody had launched in the ’60’s.
The the cockroaches and rats could have called it the “Glass-o-cene”?

July 13, 2023 2:16 pm

The Retardocene seems more apt given that we are going backwards. Using windmills to power our lives for example, when these were abandoned once steam power came along to provide 24/7 reliability, to then be replaced by electricity or diesel.

Rich Davis
July 13, 2023 2:22 pm

Welcome back David! We’ve missed you.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rich Davis
July 13, 2023 6:27 pm

Yes, we have!

July 13, 2023 8:16 pm

The odds of the Anthropocene being ratified as a geologic epoch are slightly lower than…

Have you been paying attention to the lately displayed mindset of the heads of most major scientific societies?

Brian Epps
July 13, 2023 10:48 pm

Maybe we should call it the Misanthropic Era.

Pat Frank
July 14, 2023 2:34 pm

the thirteenth to fifteenth century, when Indigenous peoples speaking the Iroquois language lived in the area

An implicit admission that the not so indigenous Iroquois were imperialist colonialists, who displaced their (likely imperialist colonialist) predecessors and were displaced in turn by their (likely imperialist colonialist) successors.

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