Skip to main content
Select Source:

Holocene Epoch

Holocene Epoch

Earth is currently in the Holocene Epoch. In geologic time , the Holocene Epoch represents the second epoch in the current Quaternary Period (also termed the Anthropogene Period) of the current Cenozoic Era of the ongoing Phanerozoic Eon . The Holocene Epoch ranges from approximately 10,000 years ago until present day.

Also termed the Recent Epoch, the Holocene Epoch is thus far notable for the retreat of glaciersa major force in producing the landscape topographical features evident todayand the geological time during which humans (Homo sapiens ) became the dominant life form on Earth, increased their societal relationships, and produced major civilizations. The retreat of glaciers and the gradual climactic warming in the Northern Hemisphere encouraged migration and biological radiation of species.

Although Homo sapiens appeared during the preceding Pleistocene Epoch , and were fully differentiated as a species by the beginning of the Holocene Epoch, human societal evolution has taken place during the Holocene Epoch. As expected, the most recent and superficial of sedimentary remains were laid down during the Holocene Epoch. The fossil record is also dotted with an archaeological record of human activity and civilization.

Human societal and intellectual development during the Holocene Epoch produced the first species capable of significantly and consciously altering geophysical processes. In addition to deliberate reworking of topographical features and use of natural resources, byproducts of human civilization and industrialization have affected groundwater reservoirs, the type of abundance of weathering agents, the geochemistry of atmospheric processes on a local scale (e.g., acid rain ); and possible atmospheric and/or marine processes on a global scale (e.g., possible global warming ).

The general retreat of glaciation was punctuated by smaller-scale "ice ages"including the "Little Ice Age" that occurred between approximately 1150 and 1700. One of the reasons that it is difficult for modern scientists to quantify the possible extent in global warming is that accurate climatic data extends back, at best, only about a hundred years. Accordingly, it is difficult to determine whether any data indicating global warming is simply a normal variation in a general downtrend, or a normal variation in generalized warming pattern.

See also Archean; Cambrian Period; Cretaceous Period; Dating methods; Devonian Period; Eocene Epoch; Evolution, evidence of; Fossil record; Fossils and fossilization; Geologic time; Historical geology; Holocene Epoch; Jurassic Period; Mesozoic Era; Miocene Epoch; Mississippian Period; Oligocene Epoch; Ordovician Period; Paleocene Epoch; Paleozoic Era; Pennsylvanian Period; Pliocene Epoch; Precambrian; Proterozoic Era; Silurian Period; Supercontinents; Tertiary Period; Triassic Period

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene Epoch." World of Earth Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene Epoch." World of Earth Science. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holocene-epoch

"Holocene Epoch." World of Earth Science. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holocene-epoch

Holocene epoch

Holocene epoch (hŏl´əsēn) or Recent epoch, most recent of all subdivisions of geologic time, ranging from the present back to the time (c.11,000 years ago) of almost complete withdrawal of the glaciers of the preceding Pleistocene epoch. During the Holocene epoch, the sculpturing of the earth's surface to its present form was completed. Withdrawal of the glacial ice resulted in the development of the present-day drainage basins of the Missouri and Ohio rivers, the development of the Great Lakes, and a global rise in sea level of up to 100 ft (30 m) as the glacial meltwater was returned to the seas. Warming climates resulted in the poleward migration of plants and animals.

The most significant development during the Holocene was the rise of modern humans, who are thought to have first appeared in the late Pleistocene. All of the races of modern humans were fully developed, with eventual worldwide distribution. Human culture developed during this epoch from a primitive one to the complex industrial society of today, in which humans themselves have become a significant factor in altering the earth's surface environment. As a result of extensive human influence on the environment, some have argued that "Anthropocene epoch" should be used instead of Holocene epoch for recent time, but the term has not been accepted by geologists. There is disagreement even among advocates of the use of the term concerning when the Anthropocene should be considered to have begun, with some suggesting that the entire Holocene Epoch be renamed, and others suggesting that the Anthropocene began c.AD 900 or with the Industrial Revolution.

See Geologic Timescale (table).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene epoch." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene epoch." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holocene-epoch

"Holocene epoch." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holocene-epoch

Holocene

Holocene (Recent) The most recent geological epoch of the Quaternary period, comprising roughly the past 10 000 years since the end of the Pleistocene up to the present. It follows the final glacial of the Pleistocene and thus is sometimes known as the Postglacial epoch. Some geologists consider the Holocene to be an interglacial phase of the Pleistocene that will be followed by another glacial.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-3

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-3

Holocene

Hol·o·cene / ˈhäləˌsēn; ˈhōlə-/ • adj. Geol. of, relating to, or denoting the present epoch, which is the second epoch in the Quaternary period and followed the Pleistocene. Also called Recent. ∎  [as n.] (the Holocene) the Holocene epoch or the system of deposits laid down during this time.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-0

"Holocene." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-0

Holocene

Holocene (Recent epoch) Division of geological time extending from c.10,000 years ago to the present. It includes the emergence of humans as settled members of communities; the first known villages date from c.8000 years ago.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holocene

"Holocene." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/holocene

Holocene

Holocene(Recent, Post-Glacial) The epoch that covers the last 10 000 years. It is often referred to as the Recent or Post-Glacial. See also Flandrian.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-0

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-0

Holocene

Holocene Epoch that covers the last 10 000 years. It is often referred to as Recent or Post-Glacial. See also FLANDRIAN.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene

Holocene

Holocene (Recent, Post-glacial) The epoch that covers the last 10 000 years. See also FLANDRIAN.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-1

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-1

Holocene

Holocene (Recent, Post-Glacial) The epoch that covers the last 11 000 years.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-2

"Holocene." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene-2

Holocene

Holocene •gamine • bromine • thiamine •dopamine • amphetamine • histamine •quinine • strychnine • mezzanine •spalpeen • Philippine • lycopene •gangrene • terrene • silkscreen •windscreen • citrine • Dexedrine •putting green • Benzedrine •Irene, polystyrene •widescreen • sight screen •chlorine, chorine, Doreen, Maureen, Noreen, taurine •smokescreen • rood screen •sunscreen • fluorine • helleborine •Gadarene • Hippocrene •glycerine (US glycerin), nitroglycerine (US nitroglycerin) •nectarine • wintergreen • Methedrine •evergreen • wolverine • vaccine •glassine • Essene • Rexine • piscine •epicene • glycine • pyroxene •Palaeocene (US Paleocene) •Pliocene • Miocene • Holocene •damascene • kerosene • Plasticine •Pleistocene

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Holocene." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Holocene." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene

"Holocene." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/holocene