In London, a congress of geologists on the problem of the introduction of geologic time scale of the new era — the Anthropocene, reports Nature News. Themselves experts stress that the process of adopting a new term (this question is a matter for the stratigraphic commission of the International Union of Geological Sciences), can take years.
Supporters of the new term note that human activity has led to massive changes in the world. For example, in varying degrees, people have changed more than half of the planet's surface, free from ice. Besides warming caused by greenhouse gases will increase the acidity of the ocean, and, therefore, leave a mark in the bottom of geological deposits. Finally, if extinct species that are currently listed as endangered, the scale of extinction will be comparable with the largest mass extinctions in the past. All this, according to scientists, are signs of a new geological epoch.
Opponents argue that the introduction of a new era does not make sense from a scientific point of view, as too soon crushes (in the geological sense) to the present time.
This term was proposed by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen in Chemistry in 2000 to refer to a segment of history in which human activities are beginning to have a major impact on the environment. After this term caught on and became a regularly used by experts in articles and informal discussions.
In 2008, the stratification Commission (Commission, which deals with problems of the division of history into periods) Geological Society of London offered to make the official term Anthropocene. After that there were several formal steps (including the new congress in London). Besides the possibility of recognition of the new term experts will discuss at the annual meeting of the American Geological Society, to be held in October 2011.