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Sat, 18 Aug 2018

Northeast Today

Meghalayan Age: The New Phase in the Earth’s History

Meghalayan Age: The New Phase in the Earth’s History
July 20
14:22 2018

NET Bureau, Kingson Chingakham

International Union of Geological Sciences(IUGS) tweeted the latest changes on the Geological Time Scale (also referred to as the International Chronostratigraphic Chart) a week back that includes ‘the Meghalayan Age’ as the newest phase of the Earth’s History.

Calling the last 4,200 years as a distinct phase in the geology of our planet, Geologists have defined the new Geological Time Scale- ‘the Meghalayan Age’ as the onset of a period which is marked by a mega drought which brought to an end to many civilizations across the globe,including our own Indus Civilization.

We currently live in the Holocene Epoch marked by various dramatic events which happened about 11,700 years ago.Though the Meghalayan Age is the newest phase of the Holocene Epoch, there are other two sub-divisions called the Northgrippian and Greelandian which are the middle phase and oldest phase of the Holocene respectively.

While ratifying the new geological time scale, Professor Stanley Finney,the Secretary-General of the IUGS said, “The Meghalayan Age is unique among the many intervals of the geologic timescale in that its beginning coincides with a global cultural event produced by a global climatic event”.

Why Meghalayan?

An important criteria that is needed to be passed in order to secure a classification is that ‘a slice of geological time generally has to reflect something whose effects were global in extent, and be associated with a rock or sediment type that is clear and unambiguous’.The Meghalayan Age is proven to be existed in all the seven continents.

Therefore,the rock records play a pivotal role in classification of the geological time scale.Historically,the asteriod that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago left the traces of the element iridium scattered as sediments throughout the planet.This has been also considered as the period of transition from the Cretaceous Period to the Palaeogene.

As reported on BBC News,Professor Mike Walker who led the international team of Holocene scientists that developed the division proposal said, “The Meghalayan Age’s timestamp is an isotopic shift found in a single stalagmite growing from the floor of the Mawmluh Cave in Meghalaya, India. The change in oxygen atom isotopes indicates the area experienced a 20 to 30 percent decrease in monsoon rainfall during the mega-drought that launched the new geologic age”.

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