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In search of the “Golden Spike”: On the role of microplastics in defining the Anthropocene

IOW researcher Juliana Ivar do Sul
IOW scientist Juliana Ivar do Sul has been a member of the "Anthropocene Working Group" since 2015, which is concerned with the geoscientifically viable definition of the Earth epoch "Anthropocene". (Photo: IOW / D. Amm)

In a recently published discussion paper, Juliana Ivar do Sul and Matthias Labrenz, environmental scientists at the IOW, focus on the topic of microplastics from a geological perspective. They discuss whether the omnipresent plastic particles could be used to identify the beginning of a new, not-yet formalised geological epoch, the Anthropocene, in geo-archives such as sediment cores. Moreover, microplastics could be used at a suitable location to establish the so called Golden Spike, which, by definition, is used in geology to document the beginning of an epoch, period or era.

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