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Marking time in Geomorphology: should we try to formalise an Anthropocene definition?

Authors

  • John Lewin,

    1. Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, UK
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  • Mark G. Macklin

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, UK
    • Correspondence to: Mark G. Macklin, Centre for Catchment and Coastal Research and River Basin Dynamics and Hydrology Research Group, Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion, SY23 3DB, UK. E-mail: mvm@aber.ac.uk

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ABSTRACT

The value of a formally defined Anthropocene for geomorphologists is discussed. Human impacts have been diachronistic, multifaceted and episodic, as demonstrated by the record of alluvial deposition in the UK. Rather than boxing time into discrete eras or periods, modern research uses calendar dates and multiple dating techniques to explore co-trajectories for a range of human impacts. Despite the value of ‘The Anthropocene’ as an informal concept and as a prompt to useful debate, arriving at a single, generally acceptable formal definition is impractical, and has some disadvantages. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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