The Anthropocene: A Geomorphological and Sedimentary View
The “Anthropocene”, as used to describe the interval of recent Earth history during which humans have had an “overwhelming” effect on the Earth system, is now being formally considered as a possible new geological Epoch. Such a new geological time interval (possibly equivalent to the Pleistocene Epoch) requires both theoretical justification as well as empirical evidence preserved within the geological record. Since the geological record is driven by geomorphological processes, geomorphology has to be an integral part of this consideration given that it is Earth-surface processes that produce terrestrial and near-shore stratigraphy. This paper sets a priori considerations concerning the possible formalisation of the Anthropocene from a geomorphological perspective, including the recognition of human dominance in sedimentary transport systems, the boundary problem, and the spatial diachrony of “anthropogenic geomorphology”.
KeywordsEarth-surface processes Sediment transport Fluvial geomorphology Alluviation
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