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A practical solution: the Anthropocene is a geological event, not a formal epoch

Gibbard, Philip L; Bauer, Andrew M; Edgeworth, Matthew; Ruddiman, William F; Gill, Jacquelyn L; Merritts, Dorothy J; Finney, Stanley C; ... Ellis, Erle C; + view all (2021) A practical solution: the Anthropocene is a geological event, not a formal epoch. Episodes 10.18814/epiiugs/2021/021029. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The Anthropocene has yet to be defined in a way that is functional both to the international geological community and to the broader fields of environmental and social sciences. Formally defining the Anthropocene as a chronostratigraphical series and geochronological epoch with a precise global start date would drastically reduce the Anthropocene’s utility across disciplines. Instead, we propose the Anthropocene be defined as a geological event, thereby facilitating a robust geological definition linked with a scholarly framework more useful to and congruent with the many disciplines engaging with human-environment interactions. Unlike formal epochal definitions, geological events can recognize the spatial and temporal heterogeneity and diverse social and environmental processes that interact to produce anthropogenic global environmental changes. Consequently, an Anthropocene Event would incorporate a far broader range of transformative human cultural practices and would be more readily applicable across academic fields than an Anthropocene Epoch, while still enabling a robust stratigraphic characterization.

Type: Article
Title: A practical solution: the Anthropocene is a geological event, not a formal epoch
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.18814/epiiugs/2021/021029
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.18814/epiiugs/2021/021029
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10145596
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