Meghalayan: Collapse of Ancient Agricultural Civilizations Defines Holocene's Youngest Stage | Geology, Geoscience

The famous timeline will be updated to reflect the new

The Greenlandian age begins 11,700 years ago, when the Pleistocene epoch first gave way to the Holocene as the warming planet exited the ice age. After which Earth experienced an abrupt mega-drought.

The three ages comprise the Holocene epoch, which represents the time since the end of the last Ice Age.

The collapse of the earliest civilizations about 4,200 years ago was caused by huge droughts and drastic global cooling that lasted two hard centuries for peoples from the Egypt to modern-day China.

The commission has released International Chronostratigraphic Chart to show all the divisions in the Earth's 4.6 billion-year history.

Comparatively, Jonathan Amos reports for BBC News, the Meghalayan Age's "timestamp" is an isotopic shift found in a single stalagmite growing from the floor of the Mawmluh Cave in Meghalaya, India.

According to scientists we are now living in the "Meghalayan Age" of the earth's history. But the Holocene itself can be subdivided, according to the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

After the end of last Ice Age.

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It should be said, however, there is disquiet in the scientific community at the way the change has been introduced. Just like the Greenlandian Age, the Northgrippian Age has been defined after the study of ice cores in Greenland, which revealed the boundary between the Holocene's first two stages.

"The Meghalayan Age is unique among the many intervals of the Geologic Time Scale in that its beginning coincides with a cultural event produced by a global climatic event", Dr Stanley Finney, secretary general of the International Union of Geological Sciences, said. The Meghalayan, the youngest stage, runs from 4,200 years ago to 1950. There were droughts as a result of the climatic changes which continued for over a 200-year period and hence resulted in migrations and changes in human settlements in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus valley and the Yangtze river valley. The proposals were developed by a dedicated, global team of Holocene scientists led by Mike Walker of the University of Wales.

The Meghalayan Age is unique among the many intervals of the Geologic Time Scale in that its beginning coincides with a global cultural event produced by a global climatic event, said Stanley Finney, a professor at Long Beach State University in the U.S. and Secretary General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) in France.

"After the original paper and going through various committees, they've suddenly announced [the Meghalayan] and stuck it on the diagram", Mark Maslin, a professor of geography at University College London, UK, told the publication.

"It's official, we're in a new age; who knew?"

"These subdivisions of the Holocene are based entirely on physical (climatic/ environmental) evidence whereas any designation of the Anthropocene as a new unit within the geological timescale would rest entirely on evidence for human impact".

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