Events Calendar

P Corcoran & K Jazvac, Anthropocene Epoch Markers

Friday, February 26, 2016
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Biological & Geological Sciences (BGS)
Room: 0153

The proposed Anthropocene epoch is a period of time marked by human interaction with Earth’s natural systems. Examples of anthropogenic stratigraphic markers include artificial radionuclides, aluminum metal, fly ash particles, and persistent organic pollutants. Manufactured items may also be preserved as “technofossils”, which are considered the material remains of recent anthropogenic activity, and urban fossils, which include anthropogenic articles preserved within infrastructure in cities. Referred to by some as the “Age of Plastic”, the Anthropocene is also characterized by sedimentary layers containing plastic debris and products that are mixtures of plastics and natural fragments. The potential for this buried plastic to become part of the rock record is increased in stable areas where it is protected from mechanical erosion and UV radiation. Making an invisible pollutant visible is the primary means by which humans can be made aware of their actions. Combining science with art enables a greater audience to be reached, thereby promoting change. 

Earth Sciences
Jennifer Heidenheim
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