A Geological Overview of Historical Development of the Anthropogene and Anthropocene Concepts

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SÜMER Ö., Alak A., Tekin A.



Humanities efforts to exist in nature have brought man from being a part of the ecosystem to the point of shaping nature. This struggle of humanity undoubtedly causes destruction at different scales in nature. Traces of this destruction are recorded by geological processes. Negative environmental changes caused by human effects on nature are called anthropogenic pollution today. The beginning of the most serious scientific studies to describe the permanent traces of man on nature dates back to the mid-19th century. However, this awareness is known to be much older, especially in the works of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and writers. Many researchers argue that with the introduction of scientific methods to investigate these effects, the Holocene should be separated from the Anthropocene with a time boundary as a new geological series. Although this theory was mentioned many times in the 19th century, it was later forgotten. It returned to the agenda since the early 2000s and its popularity has increased. After the suggestion of this time-boundary separation, scientific studies about the existence and the beginning of the Anthropocene have considerably increased, and it has become a multidisciplinary issue discussed by many researchers. There are two main factors that need to be addressed in order to clarify and elaborate the concepts of anthropogene and Anthropocene in the future. These are; (1) problems in setting standards for measuring anthropogenic effects especially geogenic and the steps to be taken to solve this, and (2) the necessity to produce studies that can be supported by absolute age data rather than conceptual discussion of the temporal separation of the Anthropocene. Scientific studies in different regions where these elements are taken into consideration will undoubtedly reveal the extent of the anthropogenic effect and the temporal separation of the Anthropocene boundary in a much more realistic manner.