World’s loneliest tree holds some important information regarding the age in which humans are living at present. Scientists have called the start of the modern age of humans as the Anthropocene Epoch- a new time period in our geological history earth. According to the scientists, the Anthropocene Epoch is marked by a sudden increase in the intensity of human impact on Earth that extended globally. Scientists call this as the ‘Great Acceleration’ or the golden spike.
Although they hypothesized about the emergence of Anthropocene Epoch, they could not exactly figure out the exact time of start of the Epoch. But this loneliest tree of the planet, named Sitka spruce, can help in revealing the exact time of the arrival of the Anthropocene Epoch. The Sitka spruce may be that golden spike that the scientists have been searching to define the beginning of Anthropocene Epoch. While analyzing the Sitka spruce tree, scientists discovered traces of radioactive material embedded in the woods. As per the scientists, those radioactive materials belong to the A-bomb tests of the 1950s and the 60s. The latest study was carried out by Chris Turney, from the University Of New South Wales and his colleagues.
We’re putting this forward as a serious contender to mark the start of the Anthropocene. It’s got to be something that reflects a global signal, said Turney. When Turney and his team examined the growth rings of the Sitka spruce’s wood, they found out an unusual upsurge in the amount of carbon-14 in a part of a ring. This substantial increase in the radioactive form of the element strongly indicated towards the atmospheric nuclear tests that occurred after World War II.
The scientists suspected that radioisotope would have entered into the tree as carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. According to Turney, getting radioactive elements in trees present in such remote locations of southern hemisphere tell about the far reach of the nuclear activity carried out by humans. Co-author Mark Maslin, from University College London, UK said, If you want to represent the Anthropocene with the start of The Great Acceleration then this is the perfect record to define it. ”