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新地质时代来临,地球进入“人类世”

发布于 2019-06-05 22:59   浏览 次  

Last week, a panel of scientists voted in favor of classifying the age we are living in as a new geological epoch—the “Anthropocene”—after reviewing available evidence on the issue. 上周,一组科学家在审阅了现有证据之后,投票赞成将我们所处的时代划分为一个新的地质时代——人类世。 Since it was first formally proposed more than a decade ago, the name has been the subject of intense debate among experts. But the 34-member Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) chaired by Jan Zalasiewicz, of the University of Leicester in the UK, decided that humans are having such a profound impact on our planet that the term is a valid one, Nature.com reported. 自从十多年前这个术语首次被正式提出以来,专家们一直为此进行激烈的争论。据自然杂志网站报道,人类世工作组(AWG)确定,人类对地球产生了如此深远的影响,这一说法是有理有据的。人类世工作组由英国莱斯特大学的简·扎拉塞维奇担任主席,共有34名成员。 The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS)—which oversees the geological time chart—has yet to approve the new term. But in the wake of the latest vote, the AWG will submit a formal proposal to the ICS by 2021 in a bid to formally define our current era, where mankind is the dominant influence on the planet's climate and environment. 负责地质时间表的国际地层学委员会(ICS)尚未批准这个新术语。但在最近一次投票之后,AWG将在2021年之前向ICS提交一份正式提案,以正式定义我们当前的时代,也就是人类对地球气候和环境产生主导影响的时代。 The vote saw 29 members of the AWG support not only the new Anthropocene designation but also a favored start date—the mid-twentieth century. Various starting points have been proposed for the Anthropocene era ranging from the beginnings of agriculture more than 10,000 years ago to the first atomic bomb blast in 1945 that spread radioactive debris around the world—traces of which can still be detected in the planet's soil and glaciers. 在这次投票中,29名AWG成员不仅支持新的人类世命名,而且还支持以20世纪中期作为人类世的开始。对于人类世的起点有不同的提议,有提议以一万多年前农耕时代的开始为起点,还有提议以1945年第一颗原子弹爆炸为起点,这一次爆炸将放射性碎片散布到世界各地,如今在地球的土壤和冰川中仍然可以检测到放射性碎片的痕迹。 Most scientists who support the Anthropocene designation favor the later start date, and the AWG panel agreed based on the fact that rapid population growth and industrialization in the mid-twentieth century—which led to greater natural resource use and greenhouse gas emissions—mark a “Great Acceleration” on our species' impact on the planet. 大多数支持人类世命名的科学家更倾向于以1945年为起点。由于20世纪中叶人口的快速增长及工业化消耗了更多的自然资源并产生了更多的温室气体,标志着人类对地球物种的影响“大加速”,AWG支持这一起始时间。

“The Anthropocene works as a geological unit of time, process and strata,” Zalasiewicz told Nature.com. “It is distinguishable. It is distinctive.” 扎拉塞维奇告诉自然杂志网站说:“人类世是时间、过程和地层的地质单位。它是可辨别的,也是独特的。” The next step for the AWG is to identify a definitive geological marker known as a “golden spike” to include in their formal proposal. This is an internationally recognized reference point in rock layers which scientists use to define the boundaries between geological epochs. The current epoch, known as the Holocene, began around 11,700 years ago at the end of the last glacial period. AWG的下一步工作是确定一个被称为“金钉”的权威地质标志,并将其纳入正式提案中。这是一个国际公认的岩层基准点,科学家们用它来定义地质时代之间的边界。现在这个被称为全新世的时代大约始于11700年前的最后一个冰河时期的末期。 The panel outlined ten golden spike candidates, which could be used to differentiate the Holocene from the Anthropocene, including a cave in northern Italy and a lake in China. They are also considering whether to use traces of radioactive debris—originating from the first nuclear tests—in order to bolster their claim. 该小组列出了十个金钉候选地点,它们可以用来区分全新世和人类世,包括意大利北部的一个洞穴和中国的一个湖泊。他们还在考虑是否使用来自第一次核试验的放射性碎片痕迹来支持他们的主张。

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