Part 2: Descriptions of the proposed Crawford Lake GSSP and supporting SABSs. The Anthropocene Epoch and Crawfordian Age: proposals by the Anthropocene Working Group

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Colin Neil Waters , Simon Turner, Zhisheng An, Anthony Barnosky, Alejandro Cearreta, Andrew Cundy, Ian Fairchild, Barbara Fiałkiewicz-Kozieł, Agnieszka Gałuszka, Jacques Grinevald, Irka Hajdas, Yongming Han, Martin J. Head, Juliana Assunção Ivar do Sul, Catherine Jeandel, Reinhold Leinfelder, Francine McCarthy, John McNeill, Eric Odada, Naomi Oreskes, Clément Poirier, Daniel deB Richter, Neil Rose, Yoshiki Saito, William Shotyk, Colin Summerhayes, Jaia Syvitski , Davor Vidas, Michael Wagreich, Mark Williams, Scott Wing, Jan Zalasiewicz, Jens Zinke


This part of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) submission proposes that the base of the Anthropocene should be defined as series/epoch, terminating the Holocene Series/Epoch with a single Crawfordian stage/age using a Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) in an annually varved Crawford Lake core, Ontario, Canada, defined at 17.5 cm in core CRA23-BC-1F-B at the base of the dark lamina in a varve deposited in 1952 CE, at the level where the primary marker shows a rapid increase in 239+240Pu concentrations (coinciding with a globally recognisable, isochronous signal of the first above-ground thermonuclear tests). Secondary markers, determined in precisely correlated core closely adjacent to the proposed GSSP host, include a marked increase in 14C values and in spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCPs), increased heavy metal concentrations, a decline in δ15N values, a marked change in phytoplankton assemblages and declines in elm (Ulmus) pollen and in non-arboreal pollen. The submission also provides descriptions of three proposed Standard Auxiliary Boundary Stratotypes (SABSs), in cores extracted from marine anoxic sediments of Beppu Bay (Japan), in Sihailongwan Maar Lake (China) and in the Śnieżka Peatland (Poland) and eight reference sections located in cores extracted from marine anoxic sediments in the Baltic Sea, from coral bioherms off Australia and in the Gulf of Mexico, from an Antarctic ice core, from San Francisco Estuary and nearby lake (USA), in a speleothem from northern Italy and a section in urban anthropogenic deposits in Austria. This ubiquity of signals verifies that the Anthropocene can be widely delineated as a sharply distinctive chronostratigraphic unit in diverse terrestrial and marine depositional environments, and reflects a major Earth System change that will have geologically lasting consequences.



Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Anthropocene, Chronostratigraphy, global boundary stratotype section and point, Standard Auxiliary Boundary Stratotypes, reference sections


Published: 2024-04-12 12:12

Last Updated: 2024-04-12 19:12

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Conflict of interest statement:
This submission was produced by members of the Anthropocene Working Group

Data Availability (Reason not available):
Data sources are cited in the submission