Is the “Anthropocene” the new geological epoch in which we live?
Is the current human footprint on recent rocks conspicuous and widespread enough to define a new unit of the geological time scale?
Should we define a new epoch or a new era?
These and other related questions are addressed in a popular book in Spanish to be published by Editorial CSIC–La Catarata this year. I submitted the proposal a couple of months ago and it was finally approved last week. The main objective of this book is to explain to the general public the current status of the “Anthropocene” in its way to eventually become, or not, a new formal unit of the International Stratigraphic Chart, the international standard for the geological time scale. The book begins with a historical overview aimed at showing that the “Anthropocene” is not a new concept, as it was already proposed one century and a half ago. Then, the ocurrence and characteristics of the human footprint on the stratigraphic record is analyzed, with emphasis on those features that could be used to define a new epoch of geological time. The third chapter, explains the rules required by the International Commission on Stratigraphy to formalize new stratigraphic units and the current status of the “Anthropocene” in such process, as well as the probabilities of success. The debate about the convenience or not of defining the “Anthropocene” as a new geological epoch is presented at following, considering the main pros and cons existing to date. The book ends with a chapter on the possible futures for both humankind, as a species, and the geological time scale, as the international standrad, whether or not the “Anthropocene” is finally formalized as a new epoch.
Rull, V. (in press). El “Antropoceno”. Editorial CSIC-La Catarata, Madrid.