An Epoch in the Making

An Epoch in the Making - BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | An...

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1/3/09 11:29 AM BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | An Epoch in the making Page 1 of 3 http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7223663.stm An Epoch in the making By Roland Pease BBC Radio Science Unit We may be witnessing a transformation of the Earth as profound as the end of the age of the dinosaurs, and entering a geological period as distinctive as the Jurassic - and the reason is that we are causing it. Writing in the house journal of the Geological Society of America, GSA Today, Britain's leading stratigraphers (experts in marking geological time) say it is already possible to identify a host of geological indicators that will be recognisable millions of years into the future as marking the start of a new epoch - the Anthropocene. Geologists have long divided the Earth's history into distinct epochs, periods and eras - with names as familiar as the Triassic or the Carboniferous. Transitions between them can be easily recognised, with sharp changes in the fossil record, or in the chemistry of the rocks of the time. Sometimes the boundaries mark extreme violence. The end of the Cretaceous Period 65 million years ago, and with it the dinosaurs, and the beginning of the Tertiary (the 'third' age of geology) came with the impact of a huge asteroid. A force of nature Sediments around the world from that time carry a tell-tale layer tinged with iridium, a metal more common in space than it is on the Earth's surface. There can also be soot - the result of global wildfires that followed the catastrophe. The fossil record
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2011 for the course GEO 101 taught by Professor Terpestra during the Fall '09 term at Grand Valley State.

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An Epoch in the Making - BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | An...

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