The Anthropocene Golden Spike: The Age of Humans

Handouts and Links

Course syllabus for Spring 2017

Rock cycle

Geological Time Scale

International Chronostratigraphic Chart

Locations of GSSPs

The International Commission on Stratigraphy » Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy » The Anthropocene Working Group



Audio and Video Reports

TED Radio Hour: Anthropocene, see

The Library of Congress Webcasts: The Anthropocene, see

Earth's History Plays Out On A Football Field, see:

Deep Time Global Change and You, see


Amos, Jonathan, 2016. 'Case is Made' for the Anthropocene Era. Retrieved from on 28 November 2016.
[Introduction to the Anthropocene; easy read]

Barnosky, Anthony D., Nicholas Matzke, Susumu Tomiya, Guinevere O. U. Wogan, Brian Swartz, Tiago B. Quental, Charles Marshall, Jenny L. McGuire, Emily L. Lindsey, Kaitlin C. Maguire, Ben Mersey and Elizabeth A. Ferrer, 2011. Has the Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction Already Arrived? Retrieved from on 27 November 2016.
[Extinctions; difficult read]

Biello, David, 2016. You Have Been Living in a New Geologic Time All Along. Retrieved from on 27 November 2016.
[Introduction to the Anthropocene; easy read]

Briggs, Helen, 2016. Southern Hemisphere Recovered Faster From Dino Strike. Retrieved from on 28 November 2016.
[Extinctions; easy read]

Brown, Joshua, 2015. Scientists Peg Anthropocene to First Farmers. Retrieved from on 19 December 2016.
[Anthropocene markers; easy read. See Lyons et al. 2015 for the more detailed report]

Carrington, Damian, 2016a. The Anthropocene Epoch: Scientists Declare Dawn of Human-Influenced Age. Retrieved from on 27 November 2016.
[Introduction to the Anthropocene; easy read]

Carrington, Damian, 2016b. World on Track to Lose Two-Thirds of Wild Animals by 2020, Major Report Warns. Retrieved from on 28 November 2016.
[Extinctions; easy read]

Christian, David, n.d. The Big History Project (Chapter 5: The Modern Revolution and the Future). Retrieved from on 20 December 2016.
[History of Earth; Chapter 5 relates to the Anthropocene; easy read but long]

Consensus For Action 2013. Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humaniy's Life Support Systems in the 21st Century. Retrieved on 11 January 2017 from
[Environmental issues; easy read, but long]

Crutzen, P. J. and E. F. Stoermer, 2000. The Anthropocene in The Global Change Newsletter, v. 41, p. 17-18.
[Introduction to the Anthropocene; moderate read; often cited; informative]

Edwards, Lucy, 2015. What Is the Anthropocene? Retrieved from on 28 November 2016.
[Geological basis for the Anthropocene; easy read]

Estrada, Alejandro, Paul A. Garber, Anthony B. Rylands, Christian Roos, Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, Anthony Di Fiore, K. Anne-Isola Nekaris, Vincent Nijman, Eckhard W. Heymann, Joanna E. Lambert, Francesco Rovero, Claudia Barelli, Joanna M. Setchell, Thomas R. Gillespie, Russell A. Mittermeier, Luis Verde Arregoitia, Miguel de Guinea, Sidney Gouveia, Ricardo Dobrovolski, Sam Shanee,Noga Shanee, Sarah A. Boyle, Agustin Fuentes, Katherine C. MacKinnon, Katherine R. Amato, Andreas L. S. Meyer, Serge Wich, Robert W. Sussman, Ruliang Pan Inza Kone, Baoguo Li, 2017. Impending extinction crisis of the world's primates: Why primates matter. Retrieved on 17 January 2017 from
[Extinction; moderate read]

Finney, Stanley and Lucy Edwards, 2016. The "Anthropocene" Epoch: Scientific Decision or Political Statement? Retrieved from on 27 November 2016.
[Geological basis for the Anthropocene; moderate read; informative]

Foster, G.L., D.L. Royer and D.J. Lunt, 2017. Future Climate Forcing Potentially Without Precedent in the Last 420 Million Years. Retrieved on 28 April 2017 from
[Thorough review of climate forcing factors; moderate read; informative]

Klein, G.D., 2015. The "Anthropocene": What is its Geological Utility? (Answer: It Has None!). Retrieved from on 27 Novmeber 2016.
[No geological basis for the Anthropocene; easy read]

Lewis, Simon and Mark Maslin, 2015. Defining the Anthropocene. Retrieved from on 27 November 2016.
[Anthropocene markers; moderate read; informative]

Lyons, Kathleen S., Kathryn L. Amatangelo, Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Antoine Bercovici, Jessica L. Blois, Matt Davis, William A. DiMichele, Andrew Du, Jussi T. Eronen, J. Tyler Faith, Gary R. Graves, Nathan Jud, Conrad Labandeira, Cindy V. Looy, Brian McGill, Joshua H. Miller, David Patterson, Silvia Pineda-Munoz, Richard Potts, Brett Riddle, Rebecca Terry, Anikó Tóth, Werner Ulrich, Amelia Villaseõr, Scott Wing, Heidi Anderson, John Anderson, Donald Waller and Nicholas J. Gotelli, 2015. Holocene Shifts in the Assembly of Plant and Animal Communities Implicate Human Impacts. Retrieved from on 27 November 2016.
[Agricultural markers for the Anthropocene; difficult read]

Molina, Eustoquio, Laia Alegret, Ignacio Arenillas, Josi A Arz, Njoud Gallala, Jan Hardenbol, Katharina von Salis, Etienne Steurbaut, Noël Vandenberghe, and Dalila Zaghbib-Turki, 2006. The Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point for the base of the Danian Stage (Paleocene, Paleogene, "Tertiary", Cenozoic) at El Kef, Tunisia: Original definition and revision. Retrieved from on 20 December 2016.
[GSSP example for the K/T boundary; moderate read]

Mooney, Chris, 2016. What We're Doing to the Earth Has No Parallel in 66 Million Years, Scientists Say. Retrieved from on 27 November 2016.
[Introduction to the Anthropocene; easy read]

Ripple, William J., Thomas M. Newsome, Christopher Wolf, Rodolfo Dirzo, Kristoffer T. Everatt, Mauro Galetti, Matt W. Hayward, Graham I. H. Kerley, Taal Levi, Peter A. Lindsey, David W. Macdonald, Yadvinder Malhi, Luke E. Painter, Christopher J. Sandom, John Terborgh and Blaire Van Valkenburgh, 2015. Collapse of the World's Largest Herbivores. Retrieved from on 21 December 2016.
[Extinctions; moderate read]

Stanley, Steven M., 2016. Estimates of the Magnitudes of Major Marine Mass Extinctions in Earth History. Retrieved from on 5 December 2016.
[Extinctions; difficult read]

Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, 2016. Working Group on the Anthropocene. Retrieved from on 27 November 2016.
[Geological basis for the Anthropocene; easy read; informative]

Waters, Colin N., Jan Zalasiewicz, Colin Summerhayes, Anthony D. Barnosky, Clèment Poirier, Agnieszka Galuszka, Alejandro Cearreta, Matt Edgeworth, Erle C. Ellis, Michael Ellis, Catherine Jeandel, Reinhold Leinfelder, J. R. McNeill, Daniel deB. Richter, Will Steffen, James Syvitski, Davor Vidas, Michael Wagreich, Mark Williams, An Zhisheng, Jacques Grinevald, Eric Odada, Naomi Oreskes, and Alexander P. Wolfe, 2016. The Anthropocene is Functionally and Stratigraphically Distinct From the Holocene. Science, v. 351(6269), p. 1-10.
[Markers of the Anthropocene; moderate read; informative]

Zalasiewicz, Jan, Williams, M., Smith, A., Barry, T.L., Coe, A.L., Bown, P.R., Brenchley, P., Cantrill, D., Gale, A., Gibbard, P., Gregory, F.J., Hounslow, M.W., Kerr, A.C., Pearson, P., Knox, R., Powell, J., Waters, C., Marshall, J., Oates, M., Rawson, P., and Stone, P., 2008. Are we now living in the Anthropocene?  GSA Today, v. 18, p. 4–8, doi: 10.1130/GSAT01802A.1.
[Markers and geological basis of the Anthropocene; moderate read]

Zalasiewicz, Jan, Mark Williams, Richard Fortey, Alan Smith, Tiffany L. Barry, Angela L. Coe, Paul R. Bown, Peter F. Rawson, Andrew Gale, Philip Gibbard, F. John Gregory, Mark W. Hounslow, Andrew C. Kerr, Paul Pearson, Robert Knox, John Powell, Colin Waters, John Marshall, Michael Oates, Philip Stone, 2011. Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene. Retrieved from on 20 December 2016.
[Overview of the issues related ot the Anthropocene; moderate read; informative]

Zalasiewicz, Jan, Waters, C.N., Williams, M., Barnosky, A.D., Cearreta, A., Crutzen, P., Ellis, E., Ellis, M.A., Fairchild, I.J., Grinevald, J., Haff, P.K., Hajdas, I., Leinfelder, R., McNeill, J., Odada, E.O., Poirier, C., Richter, D., Steffen, W., Summerhayes, C., Syvitski, J.P.M., Vidas, D., Wagreich, M., Wing, S.L., Wolfe, A.P., An, Z., and Oreskes, N., 2015. When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal. Quaternary International. doi: 10.1016/j .quaint.2014.11.045.
[GSSP for the Anthropocene; moderate read]

Zalasiewicz, Jan, 2016. What Mark Will We Leave On The Planet: A History In Layers. Scientific American v. 315(3), p. 30-37.
[General overview and markers for the Anthropocene; easy read; informative]

Zeebe, R. E., A. Ridgwell and J.C. Zachos, 2016. Anthropogenic Carbon Release Rate Unprecedented During the Past 66 Million Years. Nature Geoscience 9:325-329. Retrieved on 21 December 2016 from
[Carbon dioxide marker for the Anthropocene; moderate read]

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