Journal article

Anthropogenic- and natural sources of dust in peatland during the Anthropocene

As human impact have been increasing strongly over the last decades, it is crucial to distinguish human-induced dust sources from natural ones in order to define the boundary of a newly proposed epoch -the Anthropocene. Here, we track anthropogenic signatures and natural geochemical anomalies in the Mukhrino peatland, Western Siberia. Human activity was recorded there from cal AD 1958 (+/- 6). Anthropogenic spheroidal aluminosilicates clearly identify the beginning of industrial development and are proposed as a new indicator of the Anthropocene. In cal AD 1963 (+/- 5), greatly elevated dust deposition and an increase in REE serve to show that the geochemistry of elements in the peat can be evidence of nuclear weapon testing; such constituted an enormous force blowing soil dust into the atmosphere. Among the natural dust sources, minor signals of dryness and of the Tunguska cosmic body (TCB) impact were noted. The TCB impact was indirectly confirmed by an unusual occurrence of mullite in the peat.


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