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Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene

Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene
Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene
The Anthropocene, an informal term used to signal the impact of collective human activity on biological, physical and chemical processes on the Earth system, is assessed using stratigraphic criteria. It is complex in time, space and process, and may be considered in terms of the scale, relative timing, duration and novelty of its various phenomena. The lithostratigraphic signal includes both direct components, such as urban constructions and man-made deposits, and indirect ones, such as sediment flux changes. Already widespread, these are producing a significant ‘event layer’, locally with considerable long-term preservation potential. Chemostratigraphic signals include new organic compounds, but are likely to be dominated by the effects of CO2 release, particularly via acidification in the marine realm, and man-made radionuclides. The sequence stratigraphic signal is negligible to date, but may become geologically significant over centennial/millennial time scales. The rapidly growing biostratigraphic signal includes geologically novel aspects (the scale of globally transferred species) and geologically will have permanent effects.
1364-503X
1036-1055
Zalasiewicz, J.
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Williams, M.
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Fortey, R.
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Smith, A.
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Barry, T.L.
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Coe, A.L.
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Bown, P.R.
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Rawson, P.F.
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Gale, A.
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Gibbard, P.
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Gregory, F.J.
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Hounslow, M.W.
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Kerr, A.C.
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Pearson, P.
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Knox, R.
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Powell, J.
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Waters, C.
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Marshall, J.
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Oates, M.
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Stone, P.
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Zalasiewicz, J.
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Williams, M.
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Fortey, R.
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Smith, A.
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Barry, T.L.
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Coe, A.L.
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Bown, P.R.
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Rawson, P.F.
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Gale, A.
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Gibbard, P.
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Gregory, F.J.
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Hounslow, M.W.
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Kerr, A.C.
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Pearson, P.
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Knox, R.
841fbd8e-623c-4f47-9876-e5be868ac07e
Powell, J.
1d6c27f4-dc09-4347-b580-df054b2f9cc9
Waters, C.
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Marshall, J.
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Oates, M.
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Stone, P.
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Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Fortey, R., Smith, A., Barry, T.L., Coe, A.L., Bown, P.R., Rawson, P.F., Gale, A., Gibbard, P., Gregory, F.J., Hounslow, M.W., Kerr, A.C., Pearson, P., Knox, R., Powell, J., Waters, C., Marshall, J., Oates, M. and Stone, P. (2011) Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A, 369 (1938), 1036-1055. (doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0315).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Anthropocene, an informal term used to signal the impact of collective human activity on biological, physical and chemical processes on the Earth system, is assessed using stratigraphic criteria. It is complex in time, space and process, and may be considered in terms of the scale, relative timing, duration and novelty of its various phenomena. The lithostratigraphic signal includes both direct components, such as urban constructions and man-made deposits, and indirect ones, such as sediment flux changes. Already widespread, these are producing a significant ‘event layer’, locally with considerable long-term preservation potential. Chemostratigraphic signals include new organic compounds, but are likely to be dominated by the effects of CO2 release, particularly via acidification in the marine realm, and man-made radionuclides. The sequence stratigraphic signal is negligible to date, but may become geologically significant over centennial/millennial time scales. The rapidly growing biostratigraphic signal includes geologically novel aspects (the scale of globally transferred species) and geologically will have permanent effects.

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Published date: 2011

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 179311
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/179311
ISSN: 1364-503X
PURE UUID: 3175a9b8-0165-4b04-aaa1-a3529d5d96a7
ORCID for J. Marshall: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9242-3646

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Date deposited: 31 Mar 2011 14:06
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 02:04

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Contributors

Author: J. Zalasiewicz
Author: M. Williams
Author: R. Fortey
Author: A. Smith
Author: T.L. Barry
Author: A.L. Coe
Author: P.R. Bown
Author: P.F. Rawson
Author: A. Gale
Author: P. Gibbard
Author: F.J. Gregory
Author: M.W. Hounslow
Author: A.C. Kerr
Author: P. Pearson
Author: R. Knox
Author: J. Powell
Author: C. Waters
Author: J. Marshall ORCID iD
Author: M. Oates
Author: P. Stone

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