Brock research on Crawford Lake and proposed Anthropocene makes global headlines

This week, all eyes were on Crawford Lake — and the Brock University Earth Sciences professors who conducted research there.

Brock Professors Francine McCarthy and Martin Head were among an international group of experts who chose Crawford Lake, in Milton, Ont., to be the site of the proposed Anthropocene. Announced July 11 by the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), the selection received significant media attention this week from around the world.

McCarthy, Head and Carleton University Professor of Earth Sciences Tim Patterson led a research team that has been collecting and analyzing the lake’s sediment record for evidence of human-induced changes to Earth. This evidence includes plutonium-239, microplastics, fertilizers and fly ash.

The AWG announced that, of 12 possible sites around the globe, Crawford Lake best shows the boundary of the proposed new epoch in geologic time. The group’s choice now has to go through approvals by several bodies before the proposed site and new epoch can become official.

Local, national and international media covered the announcement and its implications in a variety of ways, with virtually all reports highlighting Brock University’s research.

In a BBC report and an article by the Toronto Star, McCarthy spoke in detail about the sediments at the lake. In The Globe and Mail and in an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered, she focused on the significance of the research findings.

An article from the Associated Press, which appeared in outlets across the U.S., including ABC News and Time magazine, saw McCarthy speak to the effects of humans on the Earth, while a piece by CBC News quoted her regarding Crawford Lake’s rare makeup.

The Brock-led research was also featured internationally by the Daily Mail, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Radio France, the Jerusalem Post and the South China Morning Post, among many others.

McCarthy and Head spoke about their research and next steps in potentially defining the Anthropocene in an article in the journal Science, while a piece in the journal Nature saw McCarthy discuss key markers of the proposed new epoch.

These are just some of the many examples of the content and reach of Brock’s research around the world. Other national and international media sources that feature the story include:

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