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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Live Chat: Are We Entering a New Geological Age?
5 October 2011 9:16 am
See below for the chat box. Join us each Thursday at 3 p.m. EST for a live conversation with leading scientists and expert reporters.
At the end of the last ice age, around 11,500 years ago, our planet entered the Holocene, an epoch of climatic stability and warmth. People came out of their caves and took advantage of the new conditions; they started farming and settling in villages and towns, which led to development of cultures and the rise of entire civilizations. However, since the industrial revolution, human activity has accelerated and become so profound and global that many scientists think we have pushed the planet across a new geological boundary, into what some are calling the Anthropocene (which literally means the “age of man”). Now geologists are considering whether to formally define the new age, recognizing it in the same way as the Jurassic, Cambrian, or Holocene. How have humans changed the Earth? Are our changes enough to merit a new geological age? And, if we are in the Anthropocene, when did the new era begin?
Join us for a live chat on this page at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 6 October, to discuss these and other questions with two experts in the field. You can leave your questions in the comments section below before the chat starts.
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Erle Ellis is an associate professor of geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Ellis’s research investigates the global ecology of anthropogenic landscapes and their changes towards informing sustainable stewardship of the biosphere in the Anthropocene.
Jan Zalasiewicz is a senior lecturer in geology at the University of Leicester, before that working at the British Geological Survey. He is a field geologist, palaeontologist, and stratigrapher, having researched into fossil ecosystems and environments across over half a billion years of geological time.