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A proposed new geological epoch resulting from significant human-driven changes to the structure and functioning of the Earth System, including the climate system. Originally proposed in the Earth System science community in 2000, the proposed new epoch is undergoing a formalization process within the geological community based on the stratigraphic evidence that human activities have changed the Earth System to the extent of forming geological deposits with a signature that is distinct from those of the Holocene, and which will remain in the geological record.

Both the stratigraphic and Earth System approaches to defining the Anthropocene consider the mid-20th Century to be the most appropriate starting date, although others have been proposed and continue to be discussed. The Anthropocene concept has been taken up by a diversity of disciplines and the public to denote the substantive influence humans have had on the state, dynamics and future of the Earth System.

See: Holocene


National Geographic Education: Anthropocene