Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Scientists Debate Whether the Anthropocene Should Be a New Geological Epoch



By about 2017 or 2018, scientists probably will have determined whether or not the Earth has entered into the “Anthropocene” epoch. Although many people are convinced that we are already living in the Anthropocene, that's the estimate for when a scientific review process could culminate in officially designating this potential new epoch of the Quaternary Period (roughly the past 2.6 million years) signified by profound human alteration to geological conditions and processes. The epoch would encompass—for the time being—a sliver of geological time separate rom the Holocene (roughly 12,000 years ago to the present), starting from perhaps the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the end of World War II, or some other date determined to be a good marker to designate the beginning of the Anthropocene.