The Palmer ice core as a candidate Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point for the Anthropocene series

The remote Antarctic continent, distant from human industrial activity, should be one of the last places on Earth to capture Anthropogenic change. Hence, stratigraphic evidence of pollution and nuclear activity in the Antarctic provides proof of the global nature of the Anthropocene epoch. We propose an Antarctic Peninsula ice core candidate for the Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) to the onset of the Anthropocene. The Palmer ice core captures the first evidence of spheroidal carbonaceous fly ash particles (SCPs), resulting from high temperature combustion deposited in Antarctic ice. SCPs first appear in 1936 CE, preceding the rise in plutonium (239+240Pu) concentrations from 1945 CE onwards. GSSP 1952 CE occurs at a depth of 34.9 m, coincident with the peak in 239+240Pu the primary marker for this site.


Publication status:
Authors: Thomas, Elizabeth R.. ORCIDORCID record for Elizabeth R.. Thomas, Vladimirova, Diana O. ORCIDORCID record for Diana O. Vladimirova, Tetzner, Dieter R. ORCIDORCID record for Dieter R. Tetzner, Emanuelsson, Daniel B. ORCIDORCID record for Daniel B. Emanuelsson, Humby, Jack ORCIDORCID record for Jack Humby, Turner, Simon D., Rose, Neil L., Roberts, Sarah L., Gaca, Pawel, Cundy, Andrew B.

On this site: Diana Vladimirova, Dieter Tetzner, Jack Humby, Liz Thomas
1 April, 2023
The Anthropocene Review / 10
30pp / 251-268
Link to published article: