Feb 2021 Talk: “Geological Time and the Anthropocene.” by Ian Fairchild

Event Details

Geological Time and the Anthropocene by Ian Fairchild

Outline:There is little doubt that mankind’s impact on the natural environment has increased dramatically in recent decades but … are we now living in a new epoch of geological time: the Anthropocene? Concepts from Earth System Science agree with stratigraphic markers that we went outside the range of conditions of the Holocene in the last 70 years, but does the term Anthropocene belong to geologists anyway?

This presentation is in two parts.  Geological Time and the Anthropocene examines the way in which geologists establish stratigraphic golden spikes that represent particular instants in geological history, using examples throughout the record.  The particular issues from the idea of an Anthropocene Epoch are then examined. A key idea is that the Earth System is now operating outside its range of the Holocene Epoch, representing the time since the Ice Age. In the second part, we move to a scripted dialogue between the speaker and members of the audience called Introducing the Anthropocene in which different voices question the ideas surrounding the formal establishment of an Anthropocene Epoch

Ian Fairchild
Emeritus Professor, University of Birmingham and Chair, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust.

Ian Fairchild started his career as a geologist with specialism in sedimentology, but diversified into fields such as glacial geomorphology, karst science and environmental chemistry including contemporary environmental and climatic change. He is currently a member of the Anthropocene Working Group which is developing a proposal for the formal establishment of an Anthropocene Epoch as the youngest element in the geological column. Ian is Emeritus Professor at the University of Birmingham and Chair of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust.

More info on our speaker: Ian Fairchild and here is Ian’s Research Portal

See some relevant slides

More about WGCG
WGCG programmes include talks, currently virtual, field walks and residential field visits. WGCG creates and publishes trail guides and interpretation panels. We survey local geological sites (LGS) and works to conserve some of them. We can provide bursaries via the Holloway Award. We invite you to take a look at the geology, geodiversity, iceage history revealed in the Brandon Wall. We hope you will find great interest in The Geology of Warwickshire provided by the Warwickshire Geological Conservation Group (WGCG) including Meriden Shafts, Stratford Trail Guide, Solihull, Rugby, Guides to Building Stones in many towns, Corley Rocks and The Burton Dassett Hills Country Park. Come and see the Warwickshire’s Jurassic rocks and fossils including ammonites and belemnites.

Zoom Talk

You are invited to a Zoom meeting. You can join the meeting on Wed 17 Feb 2021 from 7:00 pm i.e., up to 30 minutes beforehand.

Talk starts promptly at 7:30 pm

Please register well in advance of the evening of Wed 17 Feb 2021 with this link: –


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting with a link to be used on the night.

– Queries and Enquiries to: warwickshiregcg@gmail.com