Researchers find proof of start of Anthropocene epoch
23 February 2018
Researchers have uncovered proof of the start of the Anthropocene period, the latest geological epoch for planet earth.
The proof is in the shape of a golden spike discovered in the heartwood of what is being claimed as the world's loneliest tree.
A research team has discovered the direct proof of the golden spike in one tree, a Sitka spruce, which was spotted on Campbell Island located in the centre of the South Ocean. The spruce is seen as the loneliest tree on earth, because its nearest neighboring tree stands 125 miles away from it in the Auckland Islands.
''The impact that humanity's nuclear weapons testing has had on the Earth's atmosphere provides a global signal that unambiguously demonstrates that humans have become the major agent of change on the planet,'' said Christopher Fogwill, glaciology and paleoclimatology professor.
According to Fogwill, it is an important but a worrying discovery.
Scientists mostly agree that the new epoch has begun and it is marked by the effect of mankind's activities on the environment and climate.
Also, the proof is there in the spread of artificial materials such as plastics, shrinking ice sheets, and rising temperatures in the planet's ecosystems.
Researchers have not yet reached an agreement on a universal signal implying the epoch's start, a signal which could be taken as detectable and constant through the geologic records.
According to professor Chris Turney, the lead author of the study, the researchers were excited to discover the signal on the remote island in the Southern Hemisphere. The researchers see it as the first enunciated global signature for a new geological epoch.
According to the study published 19 February in Scientific Reports the isolated tree in this isolated part of the Southern Ocean shows a spike in radioactive elements from end 1965.
The researchers see it as a clear sign of humans' far-reaching influence on the environment.