Preprint Essay Version 3 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

What if the ‘Anthropocene’ is not Formalised as a New Geological Series/Epoch?

Version 1 : Received: 5 October 2018 / Approved: 5 October 2018 / Online: 5 October 2018 (14:59:27 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 8 October 2018 / Approved: 8 October 2018 / Online: 8 October 2018 (12:24:41 CEST)
Version 3 : Received: 12 October 2018 / Approved: 15 October 2018 / Online: 15 October 2018 (13:56:46 CEST)

How to cite: Rull, V. What if the ‘Anthropocene’ is not Formalised as a New Geological Series/Epoch?. Preprints 2018, 2018100102. Rull, V. What if the ‘Anthropocene’ is not Formalised as a New Geological Series/Epoch?. Preprints 2018, 2018100102.


In the coming years, the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) will submit its proposal on the ‘Anthropocene’ as a new geological epoch to the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) for approval. If approved, the proposal will be send to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for ratification. If the proposal is approved and ratified, the ‘Anthropocene’ will be formalised and the Holocene Series/Epoch will be officially terminated. Currently, the ‘Anthropocene’ is a broadly used term and concept in a wide range of scientific and non-scientific situations and, for many, the official acceptance of this term is only a matter of time. However, the AWG proposal, in its present state, seems to not fully meet the ICS requirements for a new geological epoch. This paper asks what could happen if the current ‘Anthropocene’ proposal is not formalised by the ICS/IUGS. The possible stratigraphic alternatives are evaluated on the basis of the more recent literature and the personal opinions of distinguished AWG and ICS members. The eventual impact on environmental sciences and on non-scientific sectors, where the ‘Anthropocene’ seems already firmly rooted and de facto accepted as a new geological epoch, are also discussed.


Anthropocene, series/epoch, chronostratigraphic units, formalization, Anthropocene Working Group


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Other

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 19 October 2018
Commenter: Valentí Rull
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: This manuscript has already been published, the reference is:

Rull, V. 2018. What if the ‘Anthropocene’ is not formalized as a new geological series/epoch? Quaternary, 1: 24, doi 10.3390/quat1030024.
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