Earliest human impact on geological processes took place 11,500 years ago (Update)

June 5, 2017, Tel Aviv University
Credit: Tel Aviv University

A new Tel Aviv University study has uncovered the earliest known geological indications of manmade impact on geological processes, in particular erosion of the surface, from 11,500 years ago. Within a core sample retrieved from the Dead Sea, researchers discovered basin-wide erosion rates dramatically incompatible with known tectonic and climatic regimes of the period recorded.

"Human impact on the natural environment is now endangering the entire planet," said Prof. Shmuel Marco, Head of TAU's School of Geosciences, who led the research team. "It is therefore crucial to understand these fundamental processes. Our discovery provides a quantitative assessment for the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth's geology and ecosystems." The results of the study were published in Global and Planetary Change.

The research was conducted by TAU post-doctoral student Dr. Yin Lu and in collaboration with Prof. Dani Nadel and Prof. Nicolas Waldman, both of the University of Haifa. It took place as part of the Dead Sea Deep Drilling project, which harnessed a 1,500-foot-deep drill to delve into the Dead Sea basin. The core sample provided the team with a sediment record of the last 220,000 years.

The newly-discovered erosion occurred during the Neolithic Revolution, the wide-scale transition of human cultures from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. The shift resulted in an exponentially larger human population on the planet.

"Natural vegetation was replaced by crops, animals were domesticated, grazing reduced the natural plant cover, and deforestation provided more area for grazing," said Prof. Marco. "All these resulted in the intensified erosion of the surface and increased sedimentation, which we discovered in the Dead Sea core sample."

A natural laboratory in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea drainage basin serves as a natural laboratory for understanding how sedimentation rates in a deep basin are related to climate change, tectonics, and man-made impacts on the landscape.

"We noted a sharp threefold increase in the fine sand that was carried into the Dead Sea by seasonal floods," said Prof. Marco. "This intensified erosion is incompatible with tectonic and climatic regimes during the Holocene, the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene some 11,700 years ago."

The researchers are currently in the process of recovering the record of earthquakes from the same drill core. "We have identified disturbances in the sediment layers that were triggered by the shaking of the lake bottom," Prof. Marco said. "It will provide us with a 220,000-year record—the most extensive earthquake record in the world."

Explore further: Back to the dead (sea, that is)

More information: Yin Lu et al. Increased sedimentation following the Neolithic Revolution in the Southern Levant, Global and Planetary Change (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.04.003 , www.sciencedirect.com/science/ … ii/S0921818116305227

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richdiggins
2.6 / 5 (10) Jun 05, 2017
"We noted a sharp threefold increase in the fine sand that was carried into the Dead Sea by seasonal floods"

They found proof of increased erosion. What is the climate change that took place due to erosion?

....and the time period of 11,500 coincides with an ice age.
Da Schneib
4 / 5 (8) Jun 05, 2017
And yet another #climatecrank myth bites the dust: "Humans can't possibly change the climate."

Here we are shown by data doing exactly that. Keep this one in your back pockets, folks, it's one to link every time we hear the lie. Anyone who's connected with the large and popular climate denial debunking sites might want to let them know about this.
richdiggins
2.7 / 5 (10) Jun 05, 2017
@Da Schneib -
Man, usually you make sense.
Please feel free to explain to us lowly peasants how this article proves anything.
Da Schneib
4.3 / 5 (7) Jun 05, 2017
This intensified erosion is incompatible with tectonic and climatic regimes during the Holocene, the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene some 11,700 years ago.
Straight from the geophysicist's mouth. Direct quote.

Maybe you didn't read the article, @rich.

We done here?
richdiggins
2.4 / 5 (10) Jun 05, 2017
Well, if that is all you got... then yes, we are done here.
MR166
2.3 / 5 (12) Jun 05, 2017
BIG DEAL !!!!!!! Every living thing changes the earth and yet the earth goes on and supports life. Save the earth, give us your freedoms. Remember only a one world government can stop the coming apocalypse. Meanwhile governments can't even keep terrorists out of a country.
richdiggins
3.3 / 5 (7) Jun 05, 2017
What climate change took place in this article?

My curiosity revolves around the conclusion that pre-historic farming + animal domestication somehow is related to climate change based on the core samples which show increased erosion around these early settlements.

From my point of view... without additional core samples from nearby areas outside of human control, we can not even say for sure that the increased erosion is not due to increased rain fall during this period. (as water was unlocked from the melting ice age)

Assuming the erosion was caused by humans. Simply saying that increased erosion due to human settlement somehow shows proof of human made climate change .... does not make sense. What climate change are we taking about?

Da Schneib
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 05, 2017
Sorry, @rich, not playing FUD.

If you claim they're wrong, let's see some evidence; they've provided theirs in a peer-reviewed paper, which is, you know, like, different from some FUDmeister #climatecrank posting on the comments on a science article aggregation site. Good luck with that.
Joker23
1.8 / 5 (10) Jun 05, 2017
We all know that it is the fault of the United States because of the population boom on the North American Continent. All those extra people that used to be in Europe and Asia have unbalanced the Globe and caused it to wobble. Or it it the Windmills that have interrupted the wind patterns of the atmosphere and, besides killing the Eagles has caused the Climate to change. So as ''punishment'' for rebuilding Europe after the two Great Wars and helping to clean up after Europe conquered and decimated Africa, India,Pakistan and the Middle east, the Levant and China, the American Taxpayer has to bear the burden of this Global Warming because we KNOW that the rest of the world doesn't use energy and only the United States has a ''carbon footprint''. To all of you globalists and anti human Zealots I suppose a good Nuclear War is starting to look pretty good. It would clear the ''Mother Earth'' of all of those ''other'' human weeds.........not the Globalists of course only the pesky ones.
richdiggins
2.1 / 5 (7) Jun 05, 2017
Anyhow, as a person that values critical thinking...I am open to new information and welcome good science.

Show me the climate change they speak of. There is no climate change here in the article. Simple as that.

To me, it seems that the 'evidence' of climate change is getting more and more ridiculous by the day. "They' are just pushing out this crap to see if anyone is paying attention.

Hyperfuzzy
3 / 5 (4) Jun 05, 2017
Are we talking about the rise in temperature after the last ice age as being what?
Da Schneib
3.9 / 5 (7) Jun 05, 2017
Critical thinking is one thing; being a #climatecrank and pretending you're thinking critically because you won't look at all the data is entirely another.

Here's a link to the page for the article: http://www.scienc...16305227
richdiggins
2.6 / 5 (7) Jun 05, 2017
from the article you linked to...
"We thus suggest that human impact on the landscape was the primary driver causing the intensified erosion and that the Dead Sea sedimentary record serves as a reliable recorder of this impact since the Neolithic Revolution."

This is talking about increased sediment deposits. Has nothing at all to do with "Man Made Climate Change"

Sediment deposits != Climate Change.

What am I missing?
BackBurner
1.5 / 5 (8) Jun 05, 2017
"The vast majority of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century have been due to human activities."

And why not just assert your conclusions without proof? What's the harm? We're all smart people, we don't need no stinking badges! It's as clear as the wart on Grandma's chin humans are completely responsible for global warming. We don't need to prove nothin'!

Da Schneib
5 / 5 (4) Jun 05, 2017
What am I missing?
The first two sentences of the abstract because you don't want to look at all the data.

Bah, I have no time for this penny-ante FUD game. Your BS is obvious, sussed, and many days dead. Now stop lying.

Bye now.
EmceeSquared
4 / 5 (8) Jun 05, 2017
BackBurner:
And why


The IPCC along with many other climate scientists have published thousands of papers proving that scientific statement, including regular summary statements of the overwhelming consensus. All of which has been publicized in the news and other media for decades.

You're nothing but a whining troll.
greenonions1
5 / 5 (6) Jun 05, 2017
And why not just assert your conclusions without proof?
That assertions seems reasonable to me. I did a quick google. Here -
https://en.wikipe...e_change
No scientific body of national or international standing maintains a formal opinion dissenting from any of these main points.
I am sure you disagree with the majority of scientists - but the assertion in this article seems sound.
EmceeSquared
3.9 / 5 (7) Jun 05, 2017
richdiggins:
from the article


You're missing the obvious: the "Neolithic Revolution" of increased human activity affected the Levant's climate to increase the local erosion. Unless you have evidence that the humans of 11.5 KYA directly eroded the landscape, which would require vastly larger populations and/or powerful technology for which there has been no evidence offered.
zz5555
5 / 5 (7) Jun 05, 2017
"We noted a sharp threefold increase in the fine sand that was carried into the Dead Sea by seasonal floods"

They found proof of increased erosion. What is the climate change that took place due to erosion?

....and the time period of 11,500 coincides with an ice age.

Why in the world did you think that the article was about "climate change that took place due to erosion"? The article is about how man changed the landscape 11500 years ago. The only place climate change is mentioned is how cores can be used to track it. Which is a "duh" kind of statement.

They don't try to connect the landscape change to climate change here. If you want to do that you have to go elsewhere, like Ruddiman (http://journals.s...ode=anra ).

I think they should require a test before allowing comments to make sure the commenter has actually read the article.
richdiggins
1 / 5 (4) Jun 05, 2017
OK, I see that you guys will continue to spin this into something its not. It sounds like most commentators are suggesting 'micro-climate' change.

Idiots!
rrwillsj
4 / 5 (4) Jun 05, 2017
With my vast, ephemerally psychotic fortuneteller's Third Eye of the Gnostic Wiseassery.

Envisions, that a hundred million years into the future. A giant cockroach archeology professor lecturing to a classroom of giant cockroach students. Comparing the skull of a dinosaur to that of a human. As heshe&it jokes that humanity is evidence that the size of one's brain is no proof of intelligence!
zz5555
4.8 / 5 (6) Jun 05, 2017
OK, I see that you guys will continue to spin this into something its not.

Hmmm, you jump to all the wrong conclusions about the article and somehow that becomes everyone else is spinning the article into something it's not. The buck never stops with you, does it? I bet you blame the dog when you fart.
richdiggins
1 / 5 (3) Jun 06, 2017
Hmmm, you jump to all the wrong conclusions about the article and ...


Exactly. Your comprehension of the article has led you to jump to conclusions which are not presented within the data and/or text of the publication.

I am assuming that your wildly assumptions and outright lack of comprehension have kept you living with your parents all these years.
zz5555
5 / 5 (5) Jun 06, 2017
Exactly. Your comprehension of the article has led you to jump to conclusions which are not presented within the data and/or text of the publication.

Interesting. So you'll be able to point to the point in the text where they come to, in your own words: "the conclusion that pre-historic farming + animal domestication somehow is related to climate change based on the core samples which show increased erosion around these early settlements." (Hint: They never do come to that conclusion. ;)
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Jun 06, 2017
Basic tutorial on how to read scientific publications:
1) Read what's in there
2) What's not in there isn't in there (No. Really. It's not. No matter how much you want it to be)
3) Any time you infer something that's not stated outright in the publication you are either wrong or - at the the very least - on extremely shaky ground not compatible with scientific principles
Hyperfuzzy
3 / 5 (2) Jun 06, 2017
Basic tutorial on how to read scientific publications:
1) Read what's in there
2) What's not in there isn't in there (No. Really. It's not. No matter how much you want it to be)
3) Any time you infer something that's not stated outright in the publication you are either wrong or - at the the very least - on extremely shaky ground not compatible with scientific principles

Huh? There are principles of Formal Logic. Try these, you'll find very few publications that follow formal logic, even Nobel Laureates. So what you read or quote has no merit without a proof. QED
EmceeSquared
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 06, 2017
Hyperfuzzy:
Huh?


Well that was a gibberish salad.
carbon_unit
3 / 5 (2) Jun 06, 2017
Da Schneib: I do think you are a little off target here. (A rare event...) RD is correct in noting that this article is not about the earliest evidence of anthropogenic climate change, but rather the earliest evidence of anthropogenic environmental change. This is when humans appeared to first start screwing with the environment via farming, the precursor to the anthropogenic climate change yet to come. The only mention of climate here and in the abstract is to say that the climate of the time could not account for the extra sediment deposits. (The humans did it!) Or did I miss something??
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (2) Jun 06, 2017
Or did I miss something??


How about the sphinx

an ice age
MR166
1 / 5 (4) Jun 06, 2017
"This is when humans appeared to first start screwing with the environment via farming,......."

You are talking as man has no right to exist. Every species has changed the earth, each in it's own way. So both eating meat is bad and farming are bad, eh. Why don't we just make abortion mandatory for all and end the problem in one generation.
carbon_unit
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 06, 2017
Or did I miss something??
How about the sphinx
The sphinx came quite a bit later. We are talking about the dawn of agriculture here.
an ice age
Nothing mentioned about that in the article or abstract. They are saying that the climate of the time (whatever it was) does not account for the increased sediments.

You are talking as man has no right to exist.
No you are putting those words in my mouth. This is simply the start of human environmental impact. I do feel strongly that humanity needs to do much more to reduce its impact on the planet.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Jun 06, 2017
Huh? There are principles of Formal Logic.

What I'm trying to get through to people who have rarely read (and even more likely never written) a scientific publication is this: If you draw a conclusion from the paper that the authors didn't draw then it's almost guaranteed that your conclusion is wrong.
If a conclusion can be drawn then it's stated expressly in the paper.

The people who write these papers don't write them willy-nilly. A lot of expertise and months (if not years) of work and thinking about the subject every day - all day - go into these. There is almost no way you will jump to a conclusion they didn't see. Much more so since they have studied the subject matter for years (sometimes decades) and you haven't.

If you think you can draw a conclusion not presented you are fooling yourself. Hard.

If you still think you have a conclusion then publish it. See how that works out. Otherwise it's just a self-delusion.
Da Schneib
5 / 5 (1) Jun 06, 2017
Da Schneib: I do think you are a little off target here.
You're probably right. My enthusiasm overcame me.
(A rare event...)
Thanks for that. ;)

RD is correct in noting that this article is not about the earliest evidence of anthropogenic climate change, but rather the earliest evidence of anthropogenic environmental change. This is when humans appeared to first start screwing with the environment via farming, the precursor to the anthropogenic climate change yet to come.
I think it was the abstract of the paper; see the first two sentences. I quoted them above.

The only mention of climate here and in the abstract is to say that the climate of the time could not account for the extra sediment deposits. (The humans did it!) Or did I miss something??
Perhaps I misread those first two sentences in the abstract. See what you think.

Thanks for a kind and polite post pointing out I was wrong. You are a rare bird around here.
rrwillsj
3 / 5 (4) Jun 07, 2017
Are you fools still arguing over how to rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic?

Well, the good news is....When the steward brings us our final order of drinks? We will not have to concern ourselves that there is an insufficient supply of ice cubes to around.

We have rammed reality and there is no lifeboat sufficient to save even you ego-bloated, overly-entitled sons of affluenza from the looming Matricide.
EmceeSquared
3 / 5 (2) Jun 07, 2017
rrwillisj:
Are you


The best part of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic is that you get to watch an epic view with other people who'd rather work than whine. Better than drowning knowing you went out like a bitch.
AGreatWhopper
3 / 5 (2) Jun 07, 2017
Yeah. Anything to not take the architects of the disaster to task for their conscious decisions. It's industry saying, "We think we can get away with it". And that sentiment is glorified with English football. Don't whinge when you support it.
AGreatWhopper
3 / 5 (2) Jun 07, 2017
Let's get over it. It's "homo mutatus"! With hindsight, our most distinguishing characteristic, is that we modify the environment.

And the Luddites want to say, "But after millenia of tech we can't do that any more!".

It's what we do. Get over it. We modify the environment.
EmceeSquared
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 07, 2017
AGreatWhopper:
Yeah.


What are you talking about?
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jun 08, 2017
@EmceeSquared
AGreatWhopper:

Yeah.


What are you talking about?


I like reading your stuff, but it's sometimes hard to dig for what you are referring to in your posts. Could you quote the entire relevant sentence(es) instead of one word? That would make it much easier to chime in.
EmceeSquared
3 / 5 (2) Jun 08, 2017
antialias_physorg:
@EmceeSquared
AGreatWhopper:

Yeah.


What are you talking about?



I quote the first (original) word or two of a post to which I'm replying to associate it. The 1000 character limit makes me quote as little as possible. I'll try to make the associations more obvious. Thanks for reading :).

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