Extraordinary human energy consumption and resultant geological impacts beginning around 1950 CE initiated the proposed Anthropocene Epoch

  title={Extraordinary human energy consumption and resultant geological impacts beginning around 1950 CE initiated the proposed Anthropocene Epoch},
  author={Jaia Syvitski and Colin N. Waters and John W. Day and John Douglas Milliman and Colin Summerhayes and Will Steffen and Jan A. Zalasiewicz and Alejandro Cearreta and Agnieszka Gałuszka and I. Hajdas and Martin J. Head and Reinhold Leinfelder and John R. McNeill and Cl{\'e}ment Poirier and Neil L. Rose and William Shotyk and Michael Wagreich and Mark Williams},
  journal={Communications Earth \& Environment},
Growth in fundamental drivers—energy use, economic productivity and population—can provide quantitative indications of the proposed boundary between the Holocene Epoch and the Anthropocene. Human energy expenditure in the Anthropocene, ~22 zetajoules (ZJ), exceeds that across the prior 11,700 years of the Holocene (~14.6 ZJ), largely through combustion of fossil fuels. The global warming effect during the Anthropocene is more than an order of magnitude greater still. Global human population… 

Defining the onset of the Anthropocene

Description Twelve sites are considered for defining the Anthropocene geological epoch Earth’s geological history is divided into chronostratigraphic units that distinguish phases in the planet’s

The Anthropocene: Comparing Its Meaning in Geology (Chronostratigraphy) with Conceptual Approaches Arising in Other Disciplines

The term Anthropocene initially emerged from the Earth System science community in the early 2000s, denoting a concept that the Holocene Epoch has terminated as a consequence of human activities.

The Great Acceleration is real and provides a quantitative basis for the proposed Anthropocene Series/Epoch

in 2000 to the extensive impact of human activities on our planet, subsequent detailed a substantial Earth System response to these impacts in the mid-20 th century. Key to this understanding was the

The proposed Anthropocene Epoch/Series is underpinned by an extensive array of mid‐20th century stratigraphic event signals

The extensive array of mid‐20th century stratigraphic event signals associated with the ‘Great Acceleration’ enables precise and unambiguous recognition of the Anthropocene as an epoch/series within

The Anthropocene as an Event, not an Epoch

Over the course of the last decade the concept of the Anthropocene has become widely established within and beyond the geoscientific literature but its boundaries remain undefined. Formal definition

Anthropogenic data question the concept of the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch

Anthropogenic indicators have been closely inspected to determine whether they can be used in support of the concept of the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch and of its proposed beginning around

Geological evolution of the Mississippi River into the Anthropocene

The Mississippi River maintains commercial and societal networks of the USA along its >3700 km length. It has accumulated a fluvial sedimentary succession over 80 million years. Through the last

Maintaining global biodiversity by developing a sustainable Anthropocene food production system

  • C. Thomas
  • Environmental Science
    The Anthropocene Review
  • 2022
Humans have appropriated modern (food and biomass) and ancient (fossil fuels) biological productivity in unprecedented quantities over the last century, generating the biodiversity and climate

Introduction: The Mississippi River Basin—a model for studying the Anthropocene in situ

Is it possible to trace ongoing transitions in the Earth system back to the regional scales at which they are produced and where their effects can be directly experienced? This editorial introduces

Sediment Soot Radiocarbon Indicates that Recent Pollution Controls Slowed Fossil Fuel Emissions in Southeastern China.

This work constrained FF soot emissions from southeastern China over the past 110 years, based on a novel radiocarbon method applied to sedimentary soot, to provide insights into the effects of economic development and controls on air pollution and the environmental impacts from the changes inSoot emissions.



The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene

C climatic, biological, and geochemical signatures of human activity in sediments and ice cores, Combined with deposits of new materials and radionuclides, as well as human-caused modification of sedimentary processes, the Anthropocene stands alone stratigraphically as a new epoch beginning sometime in the mid–20th century.

Humans are the most significant global geomorphological driving force of the 21st century

The transformation of the Earth’s land surface by mineral extraction and construction is on a scale greater than natural erosive terrestrial geological processes. Mineral extraction statistics can be

The Anthropocene: conceptual and historical perspectives

The case for formally recognizing the Anthropocene as a new epoch in Earth history is put forward, arguing that the advent of the Industrial Revolution around 1800 provides a logical start date for the new epoch.

On the mineralogy of the “Anthropocene Epoch”

Abstract The “Anthropocene Epoch” has been proposed as a new post-Holocene geological time interval—a period characterized by the pervasive impact of human activities on the geological record. Prior

Sediment flux and the Anthropocene

  • J. SyvitskiA. Kettner
  • Environmental Science
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2011
The Anthropocene attains the level of a geological climate event, such as that seen in the transition between the Pleistocene and the Holocene, suggesting that even continental shelves have received a significant but as yet quantified Anthropocene impact.

The trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration

The ‘Great Acceleration’ graphs, originally published in 2004 to show socio-economic and Earth System trends from 1750 to 2000, have now been updated to 2010. In the graphs of socio-economic trends,

The Energy Pillars of Society: Perverse Interactions of Human Resource Use, the Economy, and Environmental Degradation

To meet the COP21 2 °C climate target, humanity would need to complete a transition to renewable energy within the next several decades. But for decades, fossil fuels will continue to underpin many

Spheroidal carbonaceous fly ash particles provide a globally synchronous stratigraphic marker for the Anthropocene.

  • N. Rose
  • Environmental Science
    Environmental science & technology
  • 2015
Spheroidal carbonaceous fly ash particles (SCPs), byproducts of industrial fossil-fuel combustion, are proposed as a primary marker for a GSSP at the time of the Great Acceleration, a clear signal of great stratigraphic utility representing a primary driving force for global anthropogenic change.

Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene

We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature

Anthropogenic disturbance of element cycles at the Earth's surface.

This work quantifies anthropogenic mass transfer of 77 elements from mining, fossil fuel burning, biomass burning, construction activities, and human apportionment of terrestrial net primary productivity and explicitly incorporate uncertainties of element mass fluxes through Monte Carlo simulations.