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Environment & Climate Change

Move aside Holocene: Humans now pushing Earth into new geological era

ANTHRO.jpg
Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr
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http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
The changes humans are making to the Earth are large enough to be considered "geologic events," Professor van der Pluijm said. He said sea level rise, due to melting glaciers, is an example.

You may remember from your school days that one of the ways geologists measure time is by epochs, which can be seen in changes in rock layers. These epochs tell us much about what was happening on the earth at that time.

"We have to understand it has implications. The challenges of the changes are not just for the rest of the ecosystem, but also for us."

A group of experts thinks it’s time we declare a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. Anthro is the Greek word for humans, and that's the big story here: scientists are saying that humans have become the next “geologic driver.”

For that reason, many are talking about declaring the present time a new geological epoch.

Ben van der Pluijm, a professor of Geology and the Environment at the University of Michigan's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, joined Stateside to explain why it matters that humans are changing the planet's geology. 

"We have to understand it has implications," van der Pluijm said. "The challenges of the changes are not just for the rest of the ecosystem, but also for us."

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