Turney, CSM, Palmer, J, Maslin, MA, Hogg, A, Fogwill, CJ, Southon, J, Fenwick, P, Helle, G, Wilmshurst, JM, McGlone, M, Bronk Ramsey, C, Thomas, Z, Lipson, M, Beaven, B, Jones, RT, Andrews, O and Hua, Q (2018) Global Peak in Atmospheric Radiocarbon Provides a Potential Definition for the Onset of the Anthropocene Epoch in 1965. Scientific Reports, 8. ISSN 2045-2322

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Anthropogenic activity is now recognised as having profoundly and permanently altered the Earth system, suggesting we have entered a human-dominated geological epoch, the ‘Anthropocene’. To formally define the onset of the Anthropocene, a synchronous global signature within geological-forming materials is required. Here we report a series of precisely-dated tree-ring records from Campbell Island (Southern Ocean) that capture peak atmospheric radiocarbon (14C) resulting from Northern Hemisphere-dominated thermonuclear bomb tests during the 1950s and 1960s. The only alien tree on the island, a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), allows us to seasonally-resolve Southern Hemisphere atmospheric 14C, demonstrating the ‘bomb peak’ in this remote and pristine location occurred in the last-quarter of 1965 (October-December), coincident with the broader changes associated with the post-World War II ‘Great Acceleration’ in industrial capacity and consumption. Our findings provide a precisely-resolved potential Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) or ‘golden spike’, marking the onset of the Anthropocene Epoch.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Nature Publishing Group at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-20970-5 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2018 11:51
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2018 11:50
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/4500

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