New evidence for the "anthropocene" -- scientists have found human activity is responsible for an explosion in the diversity of minerals on Earth.
"The human handprint on the natural world has become evident in all too many ways in recent decades. The changing climate, the decline of wildlife and the loss of forests and other natural landscapes — all of these factors have led many scientists to conclude that we’re living in a new age they’ve dubbed the “Anthropocene,” in which the planet is dominated by human, rather than natural, influences.
Now scientists have presented some stunning new evidence in support of this idea. They’ve found human activity is responsible for a huge explosion in the diversity of minerals on Earth — possibly the biggest such event in the history of the planet, according to Robert Hazen, a scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Geophysical Laboratory who led the new research. The last major mineral diversification event is believed to have occurred about 2 billion years ago.
The research team, which includes Hazen and colleagues Marcus Origlieri and Robert Downs of the University of Arizona and Edward Grew of the University of Maine, published their findings Wednesday in the journal American Mineralogist."