Friday, November 2, 2012

Age of man

There is a new word (at least now in favor) that is becoming commonplace in the geologic record. The term is Anthropocene.

The geological record of the world is embedded in stone and the layers covering the Earth. It is scientific discovery at it's finest on our terrestrial mother. The scientists look for layers among the hills and exposed rock strata that circle our planet. They pick through the strati and look for clues to the climate changes that have shaped our world. Our time frames are divided up by epochs, ages, periods and eras. The names are familiar to nearly anyone who loves to follow science and even those who don't. Many of these time periods have become common place to many as they are even referred to in the movies. We are currently and officially in the Holocene period which began around the time of the last ice age 12,000 years ago.

The clues they look for are many millions of years old, until now. We as a people seem to live to rediscover the past; our own past. However, as a species, we have made significant changes to our world, perhaps the most changes of any creature who has ever lived. What struck me when I began to explore this was how we have now come to a time when we are able to see the changes we have wrought to this blue marble. We are now depositing a record of our existence and our effects to a planet we once thought was unchangeable.

Anthropocene is the term now used to describe the age which the world has now entered (unofficially); the age of man. Previously all ages before were determined by great extinctions or other changes caused by asteroid collisions or carbon dioxide blooms or ice ages that changed the face of the planet. Are we the greatest change for the next ten millenium? Will we even survive our own age?

If we have the wisdom.

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