In the coming years, the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) will submit its proposal on the ‘Anthropocene’ as a new geological epoch to the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). If approved, the proposal will be send to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for ratification. If ratified, the current Holocene epoch will be officially terminated. The ‘Anthropocene’ is a broadly used term and concept and, for many, its official acceptance is only a matter of time. However, the AWG proposal, in its present state, seems to not fully meet the ICS requirements for a new geological epoch.
In a recent paper published in Quaternary, I ask what could happen if the current ‘Anthropocene’ proposal is not formalised by the ICS/IUGS. The possible stratigraphic alternatives are evaluated on the basis of the more recent literature and the personal opinions of distinguished AWG and ICS members. The eventual impact on environmental sciences and on non-scientific sectors, where the ‘Anthropocene’ seems already firmly rooted and de facto accepted as a new geological epoch, are also discussed.
Rull, V. 2018. What if the ‘Anthropocene’ is not formalized as a new geological series/epoch? Quaternary, 1: 24, doi 10.3390/quat1030024.