Earth has officially entered a new chapter in its history, the age of the Meghalayan, the third and last period since the beginning of the Holocene era nearly 12,000 years ago, says the International Stratigraphy Commission (CIS, the organization responsible for establishing a geological time scale of the planet.
We are currently living in what is called the Holocene epoch, which reflects everything that has happened in the last 11,700 years, since a considerable warming of the climate has brought end at the last ice age.
It is now subdivided into three periods, explains the CIS, the most recent of which is the Meghalayan age.
The three periods of the Holocene
- Greenlandian: from 11,700 to 8200 years old. Coincides with the end of the ice age.
- Northgrippian: from 8200 to 4200 years old. Coincides with a cooling attributed to large volumes of fresh water from melting glaciers that disrupted ocean currents.
- Meghalayen: from 4200 years to today.
The beginning of the Meghalayan is marked by the occurrence of a great drought and a sudden cooling of the climate, which weakened the old agricultural societies and led to the weakening of many civilizations, notably in Egypt, in Greece, in Mesopotamia, in India and China.
Did you know?
Geologists divide the 4.6 billion years of Earth’s existence on a geological time scale. Each geological time corresponds to specific events, such as the appearance of continents, significant climate changes and even the emergence of particular types of animals and plants.
A unique moment
Professor Stanley Finney, of Long Beach State University, explains that Meghalayan is unique among the many intervals of the geologic time scale, because it is related to global human event resulting from a global climate event .
This is the first time that the CIS has considered a human-made event to define a period since, usually, units of the geologic time scale are based on sedimentary strata accumulated over time and contain types of sediments, fossils and chemical isotopes that record the passage of time and the physical and biological events that produced them.
A first that is not without stirring in the scientific community, some members believe that there has not been enough discussion since the concept of Meghalayen was first advanced six years ago .
Other scientists even claim that the Holocene era is over. According to them, the evidence of the influence of human activities on the Earth has become so convincing that it can be said that the planet has entered the Anthropocene, a new geological era marked by the human.