1. Humans have been altering environment for 11,500 years: Shmuel Marco

Humans have been altering environment for 11,500 years: Shmuel Marco

Scientists have uncovered the earliest known geological indications of humans' impact on the environment dating back 11,500 years.

By: | Jerusalem | Published: June 6, 2017 6:11 PM
Research on envoironment,  Dead Sea core sample, Professor Shmuel Marco,  human alter environment, Dead Sea, Tel Aviv University, Dead Sea Deep Drilling project, Neolithic Revolution    The research took place as part of the Dead Sea Deep Drilling project, which harnessed a 1,500-foot-deep drill core to delve into the Dead Sea basin.(Reuters)

Scientists have uncovered the earliest known geological indications of humans’ impact on the environment dating back 11,500 years. Within a core sample retrieved from the Dead Sea, researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) in Israel discovered basin-wide erosion rates dramatically incompatible with known tectonic and climatic regimes of the period recorded. “Human impact on the natural environment is now endangering the entire planet,” said Professor Shmuel Marco, Head of TAU’s School of Geosciences, who led the research team.

“It is therefore crucial to understand these fundamental processes. Our discovery provides a quantitative assessment for the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth’s geology and ecosystems,” said Marco. The research took place as part of the Dead Sea Deep Drilling project, which harnessed a 1,500-foot-deep drill core to delve into the Dead Sea basin. The core sample provided the team with a sediment record of the last 220,000 years.

You may also like to watch:


The newly-discovered erosion occurred during the Neolithic Revolution, the wide-scale transition of human cultures from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. The shift resulted in an exponentially larger human population on the planet. “Natural vegetation was replaced by crops, animals were domesticated, grazing reduced the natural plant cover, and deforestation provided more area for grazing,” said Marco.

The newly-discovered erosion occurred during the Neolithic Revolution, the wide-scale transition of human cultures from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement. The shift resulted in an exponentially larger human population on the planet. “Natural vegetation was replaced by crops, animals were domesticated, grazing reduced the natural plant cover, and deforestation provided more area for grazing,” said Marco.

“All these resulted in the intensified erosion of the surface and increased sedimentation, which we discovered in the Dead Sea core sample,” he said. The Dead Sea drainage basin serves as a natural laboratory for understanding how sedimentation rates in a deep basin are related to climate change, tectonics, and human-made impacts on the landscape. “We noted a sharp threefold increase in the fine sand that was carried into the Dead Sea by seasonal floods,” said Marco. “This intensified erosion is incompatible with tectonic and climatic regimes during the Holocene, the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene some 11,700 years ago,” Marco added. The study was published in the journal Global and Planetary Change.

  1. No Comments.

Go to Top