The Anthropocene perspective: A geological approach to climate change

Alejandro Cearreta


The most recent division of geological time is based on climate events caused by variations in the Earth’s orbit and axis of rotation on a scale of thousands of years. However, the magnitude of geological change caused by humankind through its still young technosphere, particularly since the mid-20th century, is negatively affecting the other classical spheres (atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere). This is because of our increasing demand for raw materials and the incomplete recycling of its residues (e.g., greenhouse gases). The massive use of fossil fuels to power the recent boom in industrial development has turned humanity into the new agent of planetary-scale climate change. Some alterations associated with this new Anthropocene climate system are already irreversible and exceed the natural variability of the last few thousand years.


geology; Earth system; technosphere; Quaternary; Anthropocene; climate change

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