Global Peak in Atmospheric Radiocarbon Provides a Potential Definition for the Onset of the Anthropocene Epoch in 1965

Turney, Chris S. M., Palmer, Jonathan, Maslin, Mark A., Hogg, Alan, Fogwill, Christopher J., Southon, John, Fenwick, Pavla, Helle, Gerhard, Wilmshurst, Janet M., McGlone, Matt, Bronk Ramsey, Christopher, Thomas, Zoë, Lipson, Mathew, Beaven, Brent, Jones, Richard T., Andrews, Oliver and Hua, Quan (2018) Global Peak in Atmospheric Radiocarbon Provides a Potential Definition for the Onset of the Anthropocene Epoch in 1965. Scientific Reports, 8. ISSN 2045-2322

[img]
Preview
PDF (Published manuscript) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract

Anthropogenic activity is now recognised as having profoundly and permanently altered the Earth system, suggesting we have entered a human-dominated geological epoch, the ‘Anthropocene’. To formally define the onset of the Anthropocene, a synchronous global signature within geological-forming materials is required. Here we report a series of precisely-dated tree-ring records from Campbell Island (Southern Ocean) that capture peak atmospheric radiocarbon (14C) resulting from Northern Hemisphere-dominated thermonuclear bomb tests during the 1950s and 1960s. The only alien tree on the island, a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), allows us to seasonally-resolve Southern Hemisphere atmospheric 14C, demonstrating the ‘bomb peak’ in this remote and pristine location occurred in the last-quarter of 1965 (October-December), coincident with the broader changes associated with the post-World War II ‘Great Acceleration’ in industrial capacity and consumption. Our findings provide a precisely-resolved potential Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) or ‘golden spike’, marking the onset of the Anthropocene Epoch.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2018 13:30
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2020 00:02
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/66438
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-20970-5

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item