The technofossil record of humans
journal contributionposted on 2016-12-08, 11:46 authored by Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, C. N. Waters, A. D. Barnosky, P. Haff
As humans have colonised and modified the Earth’s surface, they have developed progressively more sophisticated tools and technologies. These underpin a new kind of stratigraphy, that we term technostratigraphy, marked by the geologically accelerated evolution and diversification of technofossils – the preservable material remains of the technosphere (Haff, 2013), driven by human purpose and transmitted cultural memory, and with the dynamics of an emergent system. The technosphere, present in some form for most of the Quaternary, shows several thresholds. Its expansion and transcontinental synchronisation in the mid 20th century has produced a global technostratigraphy that combines very high time-resolution, great geometrical complexity and wide (including transplanetary) extent. Technostratigraphy can help characterise the deposits of a potential Anthropocene Epoch and its emergence marks a step change in planetary mode.
CitationThe Anthropocene Review, 2014, 1 (1), pp. 34-43
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Geology
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)