May 29, 2019

A 34-member panel of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) has voted 29-4 in favour of designating a new geological epoch — the Anthropocene.


  • Who coined the term: The term ‘Anthropocene’ was coined in 2000 by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer.

  • Meaning: The term denotes the present geological time interval in which human activity has profoundly altered many conditions and processes on Earth.

  • Features: According to the AWG, the phenomena associated with the Anthropocene include –
    • increase in erosion and sediment transport associated with urbanisation and agriculture,

    • rapid environmental changes

    • global dispersion of many new ‘minerals’ and ‘rocks’ including concrete, fly ash and plastics, and the myriad ‘technofossils’ produced from these and other materials.

Recent decision by Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) and way ahead:

  • The vote by AWG signals the end of the Holocene Epoch, which began 11,700 years ago.

  • The focus is now on identifying a golden spike to signal the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch.

  • The AWG plans to submit a formal proposal for the new epoch by 2021 to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which oversees the official geologic time chart.

  • The final ratification will be made by the executive committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences.

Source : The Hindu