Scientists have defined a new geological time scale called the ‘Meghalayan Age’ – a period which began 4,200 years ago and experienced a rapid mega-drought and cooling around the globe.
Sediments collected by an international team of researchers from a cave in Meghalaya helped define the smallest climatic event in Earth’s history.
The Meghalayan Age is unique among the many intervals of the Geologic Time Scale. It’s beginning coincides with a global cultural event produced by a global climatic event, said Stanley Finney, a professor at Long Beach State University in the US and Secretary General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) in France.
The Commission then forwarded these proposals to its parent body, the IUGS, for consideration, and the executive committee of IUGS voted collectively to approve them. Units of the Geologic Time Scale are based on sedimentary strata that have accumulated over time and contain within them sediment types, fossils and chemical isotopes that record the passage of time as well as the physical and biological events that produced them.
The decision to define this new stage allows for an update to the International Chronostratigraphic Chart, which depicts the timeline for the Earth’s full geologic history.