Greet the 'Meghalayan Age' - Geologists term for Earth's new phase

Rodiano Bonacci
Luglio 21, 2018

After which Earth experienced an abrupt mega-drought. This epoch also includes the Greenlandian Age - the oldest phase of the Holocene - and the Northgrippian Age, which dates from 8,300 years ago up to the beginning of the Meghalayan.

The history of our planet now has a new chapter, the Meghalayan Age, that began 4,200 years ago.

These latest modifications are now to be included in the International Chronostratigraphic Chart, the diagram that depicts the timeline of our planet's history, describing all of Earth's eons, eras, periods, epochs, and ages. The lower boundary of the Meghalayan stage is defined at a specific level in a stalagmite from a cave in the state.

The last 4,200 years have been classified by geologists as a new distinct age in Earth's history, called the "Meghalayan Age," named after the Indian state of Meghalaya. But the Holocene itself can be subdivided, according to the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS).

"The Holocene is now defined by three stages: the Lower Holocene Greenlandian Stage, the Middle Holocene Northgrippian Stage, and the Upper Holocene Meghalayan Stage", the IUGS International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) said in a statement. This latest geological epoch of Earth started with a global warming event that pushed the planet out of the last Ice Age.

"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.

According to Prof. Mike Walker of the University of Wales in the United Kingdom, the shift in oxygen isotopes indicates that monsoon rainfall decreased by 20 to 30 percent. The Meghalayan, the youngest stage, runs from 4,200 years ago to 1950.

Local caver Brian D. Kharpran Daly, who accompanied the scientists from California to Krem Mawmluh, told The Shillong Times on Thursday that the first batch of scientists and researchers led by Ashish Sinha from California studied the cave in 2003 and later researcher Sebastian Breitenbach joined the team.

Evidence has been collected from multiple sites all over the world, but the specific starting point of this most recent age is based on differences in oxygen isotopes in a stalagmite taken from a cave in northeast India.

The drought resulted in the collapse of civilisations and human migrations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and the Yangtze River Valley. "Beautiful, I know!" someone commented, but we recommend that you follow the entire thread on Twitter. Depending on which events are deemed the most impactful, the periods can be further broken down into smaller stages.

"We have lots of new definitions that perhaps now contradict the Anthropocene Working Group and go against what most scientists perceive to be the most important change on Earth in the last 10,000 years", said Maslin.

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