Geology of plastics and microplastics

, Ivar Do Sul Juliana.

As the scientific literature on plastics and microplastics keeps increasing more than any other environmental contaminant of emerging concern, new avenues start to be explored by researchers which include diverse and complementary research fields. One of these new topics is the geology of plastics and microplastics, a multidisciplinary topic that will be explored on this section. Because plastics, mainly microplastics, are widespread within sedimentary compartments, and because they are not degraded in the environment, they might be preserved in sediment records as technofossils. Plastic polymers can then be explored as recent (ca. 70 years) anthropogenic markers that we have deliberately launched in terrestrial and aquatic environments. One ultimate use of microplastic as technofossils, once their preservation in the geological time scale is confirmed, is to feed discussion on the onset and potential formalization of the Anthropocene Epoch. In this section we welcome scientific works on macroplastics. mesoplastics and microplastics and their constituint polymers in consolidated or unconsolidated sediments and rock records from terrestrial and marine ecosystems, whether a range of disciplines such as paleoecology, sedimentology and archaeology can be explored in the context of plastic contaminants.

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