A new chapter in the history of Earth has been officially announced. What is more important is that Meghalayan is the most recent period in the 4.6 billion-years-long existence, which started some 4,200 years ago and lasts until the present day.
We all live in the Meghalayan Age
Last month, the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) announced during its meeting a new division in the history of Earth, which has now become official. A part of a larger period, the Holocene Epoch, this new age began 4,200 years ago, when a global drought was threatening the great ancient civilizations from China to Egypt.
Why was the Meghalayan introduced?
The divisions in Earth’s history are depicted on the International Chronostratigraphic Chart with major events marking different ages. In the case of Meghalayan, its concept was proposed seven years ago, when scientists found some specific chemical signatures in stalactites and stalagmites. The age takes its name from the north eastern Indian state – Meghalaya, where the most significant evidence of these signatures was found in a stalagmite.
The Greenlandian and Northgrippian ages were also distinguished thanks to ice cores taken from Greenland. All the evidence gathered so far has been placed in the safety of the archives, waiting for the further examination.
What about the Anthropocene?
Not everyone has welcomed the announcement of Meghalaya with open arms. Some scientists strongly support the idea of a new geological age, called Anthropocene, which would be marked by the human activity. The concept has been widely advertised in environmental circles as a symbol of the devastating influence that humans have on the planet. However, the Anthropocene also has many critics, who argue that before we recognize it, we would need to find the geological evidence that would prove it. But at the moment, there is none.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca