When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Standard

When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal. / Zalasiewicz, Jan; Waters, Colin N.; Williams, Mark; Barnosky, Anthony D.; Cearreta, Alejandro; Crutzen, Paul; Ellis, Erle; Ellis, Michael A.; Fairchild, Ian J.; Grinevald, Jacques; Haff, Peter K.; Hajdas, Irka; Leinfelder, Reinhold; McNeill, John; Odada, Eric O.; Poirier, Clément; Richter, Daniel; Steffen, Will; Summerhayes, Colin; Syvitski, James P M; Vidas, Davor; Wagreich, Michael; Wing, Scott L.; Wolfe, Alexander P.; An, Zhisheng; Oreskes, Naomi.

In: Quaternary International, Vol. 383, 05.10.2015, p. 196-203.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Zalasiewicz, J, Waters, CN, Williams, M, Barnosky, AD, Cearreta, A, Crutzen, P, Ellis, E, Ellis, MA, Fairchild, IJ, Grinevald, J, Haff, PK, Hajdas, I, Leinfelder, R, McNeill, J, Odada, EO, Poirier, C, Richter, D, Steffen, W, Summerhayes, C, Syvitski, JPM, Vidas, D, Wagreich, M, Wing, SL, Wolfe, AP, An, Z & Oreskes, N 2015, 'When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal', Quaternary International, vol. 383, pp. 196-203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045

APA

Zalasiewicz, J., Waters, C. N., Williams, M., Barnosky, A. D., Cearreta, A., Crutzen, P., Ellis, E., Ellis, M. A., Fairchild, I. J., Grinevald, J., Haff, P. K., Hajdas, I., Leinfelder, R., McNeill, J., Odada, E. O., Poirier, C., Richter, D., Steffen, W., Summerhayes, C., ... Oreskes, N. (2015). When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal. Quaternary International, 383, 196-203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045

Vancouver

Author

Zalasiewicz, Jan ; Waters, Colin N. ; Williams, Mark ; Barnosky, Anthony D. ; Cearreta, Alejandro ; Crutzen, Paul ; Ellis, Erle ; Ellis, Michael A. ; Fairchild, Ian J. ; Grinevald, Jacques ; Haff, Peter K. ; Hajdas, Irka ; Leinfelder, Reinhold ; McNeill, John ; Odada, Eric O. ; Poirier, Clément ; Richter, Daniel ; Steffen, Will ; Summerhayes, Colin ; Syvitski, James P M ; Vidas, Davor ; Wagreich, Michael ; Wing, Scott L. ; Wolfe, Alexander P. ; An, Zhisheng ; Oreskes, Naomi. / When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal. In: Quaternary International. 2015 ; Vol. 383. pp. 196-203.

Bibtex

@article{620f3499be764955885f846a700e61e3,
title = "When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal",
abstract = "We evaluate the boundary of the Anthropocene geological time interval as an epoch, since it is useful to have a consistent temporal definition for this increasingly used unit, whether the presently informal term is eventually formalized or not. Of the three main levels suggested - an 'early Anthropocene' level some thousands of years ago; the beginning of the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE (Common Era); and the 'Great Acceleration' of the mid-twentieth century - current evidence suggests that the last of these has the most pronounced and globally synchronous signal. A boundary at this time need not have a Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP or 'golden spike') but can be defined by a Global Standard Stratigraphic Age (GSSA), i.e. a point in time of the human calendar. We propose an appropriate boundary level here to be the time of the world's first nuclear bomb explosion, on July 16th 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico; additional bombs were detonated at the average rate of one every 9.6 days until 1988 with attendant worldwide fallout easily identifiable in the chemostratigraphic record. Hence, Anthropocene deposits would be those that may include the globally distributed primary artificial radionuclide signal, while also being recognized using a wide range of other stratigraphic criteria. This suggestion for the Holocene-Anthropocene boundary may ultimately be superseded, as the Anthropocene is only in its early phases, but it should remain practical and effective for use by at least the current generation of scientists.",
keywords = "Anthropocene, GSSA, GSSP, Stratigraphy",
author = "Jan Zalasiewicz and Waters, {Colin N.} and Mark Williams and Barnosky, {Anthony D.} and Alejandro Cearreta and Paul Crutzen and Erle Ellis and Ellis, {Michael A.} and Fairchild, {Ian J.} and Jacques Grinevald and Haff, {Peter K.} and Irka Hajdas and Reinhold Leinfelder and John McNeill and Odada, {Eric O.} and Cl{\'e}ment Poirier and Daniel Richter and Will Steffen and Colin Summerhayes and Syvitski, {James P M} and Davor Vidas and Michael Wagreich and Wing, {Scott L.} and Wolfe, {Alexander P.} and Zhisheng An and Naomi Oreskes",
year = "2015",
month = oct
day = "5",
doi = "10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045",
language = "English",
volume = "383",
pages = "196--203",
journal = "Quaternary International",
issn = "1040-6182",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal

AU - Zalasiewicz, Jan

AU - Waters, Colin N.

AU - Williams, Mark

AU - Barnosky, Anthony D.

AU - Cearreta, Alejandro

AU - Crutzen, Paul

AU - Ellis, Erle

AU - Ellis, Michael A.

AU - Fairchild, Ian J.

AU - Grinevald, Jacques

AU - Haff, Peter K.

AU - Hajdas, Irka

AU - Leinfelder, Reinhold

AU - McNeill, John

AU - Odada, Eric O.

AU - Poirier, Clément

AU - Richter, Daniel

AU - Steffen, Will

AU - Summerhayes, Colin

AU - Syvitski, James P M

AU - Vidas, Davor

AU - Wagreich, Michael

AU - Wing, Scott L.

AU - Wolfe, Alexander P.

AU - An, Zhisheng

AU - Oreskes, Naomi

PY - 2015/10/5

Y1 - 2015/10/5

N2 - We evaluate the boundary of the Anthropocene geological time interval as an epoch, since it is useful to have a consistent temporal definition for this increasingly used unit, whether the presently informal term is eventually formalized or not. Of the three main levels suggested - an 'early Anthropocene' level some thousands of years ago; the beginning of the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE (Common Era); and the 'Great Acceleration' of the mid-twentieth century - current evidence suggests that the last of these has the most pronounced and globally synchronous signal. A boundary at this time need not have a Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP or 'golden spike') but can be defined by a Global Standard Stratigraphic Age (GSSA), i.e. a point in time of the human calendar. We propose an appropriate boundary level here to be the time of the world's first nuclear bomb explosion, on July 16th 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico; additional bombs were detonated at the average rate of one every 9.6 days until 1988 with attendant worldwide fallout easily identifiable in the chemostratigraphic record. Hence, Anthropocene deposits would be those that may include the globally distributed primary artificial radionuclide signal, while also being recognized using a wide range of other stratigraphic criteria. This suggestion for the Holocene-Anthropocene boundary may ultimately be superseded, as the Anthropocene is only in its early phases, but it should remain practical and effective for use by at least the current generation of scientists.

AB - We evaluate the boundary of the Anthropocene geological time interval as an epoch, since it is useful to have a consistent temporal definition for this increasingly used unit, whether the presently informal term is eventually formalized or not. Of the three main levels suggested - an 'early Anthropocene' level some thousands of years ago; the beginning of the Industrial Revolution at ~1800 CE (Common Era); and the 'Great Acceleration' of the mid-twentieth century - current evidence suggests that the last of these has the most pronounced and globally synchronous signal. A boundary at this time need not have a Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP or 'golden spike') but can be defined by a Global Standard Stratigraphic Age (GSSA), i.e. a point in time of the human calendar. We propose an appropriate boundary level here to be the time of the world's first nuclear bomb explosion, on July 16th 1945 at Alamogordo, New Mexico; additional bombs were detonated at the average rate of one every 9.6 days until 1988 with attendant worldwide fallout easily identifiable in the chemostratigraphic record. Hence, Anthropocene deposits would be those that may include the globally distributed primary artificial radionuclide signal, while also being recognized using a wide range of other stratigraphic criteria. This suggestion for the Holocene-Anthropocene boundary may ultimately be superseded, as the Anthropocene is only in its early phases, but it should remain practical and effective for use by at least the current generation of scientists.

KW - Anthropocene

KW - GSSA

KW - GSSP

KW - Stratigraphy

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84944515887&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045

DO - 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84944515887

VL - 383

SP - 196

EP - 203

JO - Quaternary International

JF - Quaternary International

SN - 1040-6182

ER -