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The ‘Anthropocene’ as a ratified unit in the ICS International Chronostratigraphic Chart: fundamental issues that must be addressed by the Task Group

By
S. C. Finney
S. C. Finney
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Published:
January 01, 2014

Abstract

The proposal that the ‘Anthropocene’ should be ratified as a unit of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart/Geological Time Scale deserves serious consideration by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). The ‘Anthropocene’ task group within the ICS Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy is responsible for producing a recommendation to be evaluated and considered for approval at high levels in the ICS organization. It must consider the rank and extent of the unit as well as a GSSP or GSSA that defines its lower boundary or beginning. Furthermore, the task group must address several questions related to the proposed unit and the nature of the ICS chart/timescale that are unique to it. Is the ‘Anthropocene’ a concept in search of a distinct stratigraphic record? Should it be defined on a stratigraphic signal or on a date in human history? Is the ‘Anthropocene’ a unit of Earth history or human history or primarily a future projection? Is the ‘Anthropocene’ useful as a chronostratigraphic unit on geological maps? Has the perceived change to a human-dominated Earth system overwhelmed the natural Earth system? What is the conceptual basis of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart/Geologic Time Scale? Will the term ‘Anthropocene’ have value even if not ratified as a formal unit?

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

A Stratigraphical Basis for the Anthropocene

C. N. Waters
C. N. Waters
British Geological Survey, UK
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J. A. Zalasiewicz
J. A. Zalasiewicz
University of Leicester, UK
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M. Williams
M. Williams
University of Leicester, UK
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M. Ellis
M. Ellis
British Geological Survey, UK
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A. M. Snelling
A. M. Snelling
British Geological Survey, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
395
ISBN electronic:
9781862396715
Publication date:
January 01, 2014

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