GEOSCAN Search Results: Fastlink

GEOSCAN Menu


TitleSpheroidal carbonaceous particles are a defining stratigraphic marker for the Anthropocene
AuthorSwindles, G T; Watson, E; Turner, T E; Galloway, J M; Hadlari, T; Wheeler, J; Bacon, K L
SourceScientific Reports 5, 10264, 2015 p. 1-6, https://doi.org/10.1038/srep10264
Year2015
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20140363
PublisherScientific Reports
Documentserial
Lang.English
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectsstratigraphy; stratigraphic models; stratigraphic analyses; carbonate analyses; carbonates; carbonaceous particles
Illustrationstables; plots
Programenvironmental impacts and adaptation in the northern environment, Environmental Geoscience
AbstractThere has been much recent debate over stratigraphic markers used to demarcate the Anthropocene from the Holocene Epoch. However, many of the proposed markers are found only in limited areas of the world, occur at the wrong time, or do not reflect human impacts on the environment. Here we show that spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs), a distinct form of black carbon produced from burning fossil fuels in energy production and heavy industry, provide unambiguous stratigraphic markers of the human activities that have rapidly changed planet Earth over the last century. SCPs are found in terrestrial and marine sediments or ice cores in every continent, including remote areas such as the high Arctic and Antarctica. The rapid increase in SCPs mostly occurs in the mid-twentieth century and is contemporaneous with the 'Great Acceleration'. It therefore reflects the intensification of fossil fuel usage and can be traced across the globe. We integrate global records of SCPs and propose that the global rapid increase in SCPs in sedimentary records can be used to inform a Global Standard Stratigraphic Age (GSSA) for the Anthropocene. A high-resolution SCP sequence from a lake or peatland may provide the much-needed 'Golden spike' (aka Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point - GSSP).
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
There has been much recent debate over the type of geologic marker(s) that could be used to define the Anthropocene Epoch from the Holocene Epoch (10,000 years BP to present). However, many of the markers proposed are found in limited areas of the world or do not reflect human impact on the environment. Here we show that spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs), a distinct and inert form of black carbon produced from burning of fossils fuels, provide unambiguous stratigraphic markers of the human activities that have rapidly changed planet Earth over the past century. SCPs are present in terrestrial and marine sediments or ice cores on every continent on Earth, including in remote polar regions, and their rapid rise is contemporaneous with intensification of fossil fuel usage. We propose that the global rapid rise in SCPs in geologic records can be used to inform a stratigraphic age for the Anthropocene.
GEOSCAN ID295654