ICS Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy

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What is the 'Anthropocene'? - current definition and status

Working group convenor:

Dr Jan Zalasiewicz (Leicester) e-mail: jaz1@le.ac.uk


Colin Waters (Secretary) e-mail: cnw@bgs.ac.uk
Anthony Barnosky e-mail: barnosky@berkeley.edu
Alejandro Cearreta e-mail: alejandro.cearreta@ehu.es
Paul Crutzen e-mail: paul.crutzen@mpic.de
Matt Edgeworth e-mail: me87@le.ac.uk
Erle Ellis e-mail: ece@umbc.edu
Mike Ellis e-mail: mich3@bgs.ac.uk
Ian Fairchild e-mail: i.fairchild@bham.ac.uk
Agnieszka Gałuszka [http://aggie@ujk.edu.pl] e-mail: aggie@ujk.edu.pl
Philip Gibbard (Past-president SQS, chair INQUA-SACCOM) e-mail: plg1@cam.ac.uk
Jacques Grinevald e-mail: jacques.grinevald@graduateinstitute.ch
Peter Haff e-mail: pkhaff@gmail.com
Irka Hajdas [http://hajdas@phys.ethz.ch] e-mail: hajdas@phys.ethz.ch
Alan Haywood e-mail: A.Haywood@leeds.ac.uk
Catherine Jeandel e-mail: Catherine.Jeandel@legos.obs-mip.fr
Andrew Kerr e-mail: kerra@cardiff.ac.uk
Reinhold Leinfelder e-mail leinfelder@hu-berlin.de
John McNeill e-mail: mcneillj@georgetown.edu
Cath Neal [http://cath.neal@york.ac.uk] e-mail: cath.neal@york.ac.uk
Carlos Nobre e-mail: carlos.nobre@inpe.br
Eric Odada e-mail: eodada@uonbi.ac.ke
Naomi Oreskes e-mail: oreskes@fas.harvard.edu
Clément Poirier e-mail Clement.poirier@univ-lr.fr
Simon Price e-mail: sprice@bgs.ac.uk
Andrew Revkin e-mail revkin@gmail.com
Dan Richter e-mail drichter@duke.edu
Mary Scholes e-mail: mary.scholes@wits.ac.za
Victoria C. Smith [http://victoria.smith@rlaha.ox.ac.uk] e-mail: victoria.smith@rlaha.ox.ac.uk
Will Steffen e-mail: will.steffen@anu.edu.au
Colin Summerhayes [http://cps32@cam.ac.uk] e-mail: cps32@cam.ac.uk
James Syvitski e-mail: james.syvitski@colorado.edu
Davor Vidas e-mail Davor.Vidas@fni.no
Michael Wagreich e-mail: michael.wagreich@univie.ac.at
Mark Williams e-mail: mri@le.ac.uk
Scott Wing [http://wings@si.edu] e-mail: wings@si.edu
Alex Wolfe e-mail: awolfe@ualberta.ca
An Zhisheng e-mail: anzs@loess.ac.cn

Working Group communications:

Links to publications and communications on the 'Anthropocene'

**Note on the term Anthropogene

Excerpt from: Nilsson, T. 1983 The Pleistocene. Reidel, Dordrecht, p. 23-4.

Soviet scientists discarded the concept of an integrated Tertiary Period. They followed certain non-Russian writers in classifying the divisions Paleogene and Neogene as periods, which they divided into the conventional epochs. Being (as they saw it) a relic of an antiquated classification, the term Quaternary, too, had been abandoned and replaced by the designation Anthropogene (analogous to Paleogene, Neogene), though its conceptional meaning remained unaltered (cf. i.a. Gerasimov, 1979). The Quaternary or Anthropogene retained the rank of a period. Linguistically, however, the term Anthropogene seems less fortunate.

With similar motivation, Czechoslovakian geologists used the term Anthropozoikum as a synonym for Quaternary. Procedures of this kind clearly over-emphasize the significance of the changes that serve to distinguish the Quaternary.

Reference: Gerasimov, I.P. 1979 Anthropogene and its major problem. Boreas 8, 23-30

Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy,
International Commission on Stratigraphy

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