In what is obviously a big deal for us in India, geologists have named the age we are living in the ‘Meghalayan Age’. According to CBC News, it was added to the International Geologic Time Scale this week and as it stands now, the current Holocene epoch has been subdivided into:

  • Greenlandian Age which began roughly 11,700 years ago
  • The Northgrippian Age which began 8,300 years ago and,
  • The Meghalayan Age which began with a “mega-drought” some 4,200 years 

 

Unlike the other ages which are known majorly for their huge climactic upheavals, the Meghalayan Age is unique because it also witnessed drastic changes in human communities – large-scale migrations and even the collapse of ancient civilisations. Not all geologists agree regarding the link between the mega-drought and changes in human history, however.

Meghalayan Age

(A portion of the stalagmite in the Mawmluh Cave in Meghalaya. Credits: IUGS website)



“But it is curious that round about 4,200 years ago, just at the time when we’ve identified a significantly drier phase … we do find indications of societal collapse which could — and I say could — reflect aridification driving that collapse,” said Mike Walker, who headed the group of geologists, to CBC News.

But how did this Age get the name ‘Meghalayan’?

“A stalagmite which was found in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya has provided chemical signatures as evidence. The evidence was found in the state of Meghalaya in India, and that’s how the new era gets its name,” writes Amrita Rajput for Tech2. The stalagmite was found in the Mawmluh Cave in Meghalaya and the chemical signature shows that things got really dry around 4200 years ago.