Defining the Holocene

Defining the Holocene


  1. Holocene Epoch named after Meghalaya.

Important facts:

2. International commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has divided geological ages of Holocene Epoch into 3 designated name.

  • Greenlandian – Began 11,700 years ago
  • The Northgrippian – Began 82,00 years ago
  • Meghalayan Ages – Began 42,000 years ago

3. Holocene Epoch: The Holocene (meaning ‘recent whole’) marks the period since the last ice age. It includes the current period of human expansion, agricultural advances, and more recently some major changes to the earth’s surface, biota and climate

4. Initially, there were debate on how the division will take place between Holocene and Anthropocene Epoch.

5. But after a long decade of debate ICS were able to designate geological ages of Holocene Epoch.

6. Why Anthropocene Epoch division couldn’t formalized:

  • Some argued 8,000 year ago was a better starting point when agriculture began.
  • Another group suggested 1610 AD when European colonization started in America.
  • Last date was proposed when concrete, plastic and aluminum were disseminated across the planet

7. Due to disagreement over the starting date the Epoch has not been formalized.

8. Way to establishment of Holocene Epoch

  • Unlike Anthropocene, Holocene period was clearly demarcated
  • Initially there divided into early, middle and late Holocene
  • Finally it was divided into 2 division. The first, 8,200 years ago, was a catastrophic melting of glacial lakes resulting in a global drop in temperatures. The second, 42,000 years ago, was a massive drought.

9. Point Leading to controversies

  • Northgrippian period was coinciding with Anthropocene.
  • Drought which took place 4200 years ago was not global on which Holocene epoch division took place.
  • Drawing up Holocene epoch division on arbitrary lines.
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