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Humanity’s impact on the atmosphere with fossil fuel burning is so profound that we’re creating a new geological time period, say geologists. They’ve named it, the Anthropocene.
In this part of her journey into the Anthropocene, Gaia Vince explores how fossil fuel burning will leave enduring marks in geological record forming on the Earth in current times.
Climate change and ocean acidification are in the process of transforming the planet on such a scale that humanity has shifted Earth history into a new geological epoch. Millions of years from now, scientists will be able to read the rocks forming now and see that something profound and unprecedently rapid – from sea level rise to dissolving coral reefs.
Drawing from similar episodes in Earth history, leading geoscientists warn of a global blanket of oxygen-starved muds, extinctions of much marine life and a sea level 20 metres higher than today’s.