The Holocene ( /ˈhɒl.əˌsn, ˈhɒl.-, ˈh.lə-, ˈh.l-/ HOL-ə-seen, HOL-oh-, HOH-lə-, HOH-loh-)[2][3] is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 11,650 cal years before present, after the last glacial period, which concluded with the Holocene glacial retreat.[4] The Holocene and the preceding Pleistocene[5] together form the Quaternary period. The Holocene has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1. It is considered by some to be an interglacial period within the Pleistocene Epoch, called the Flandrian interglacial.[6]

0.0117 – 0 Ma
Name formalityFormal
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitEpoch
Stratigraphic unitSeries
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definitionEnd of the Younger Dryas stadial.
Lower boundary GSSPNGRIP2 ice core, Greenland
75.1000°N 42.3200°W / 75.1000; -42.3200
GSSP ratified2008 (as base of Holocene)[1]
Upper boundary definitionPresent day
Upper boundary GSSPN/A
GSSP ratifiedN/A

The Holocene corresponds with the rapid proliferation, growth and impacts of the human species worldwide, including all of its written history, technological revolutions, development of major civilizations, and overall significant transition towards urban living in the present. The human impact on modern-era Earth and its ecosystems may be considered of global significance for the future evolution of living species, including approximately synchronous lithospheric evidence, or more recently hydrospheric and atmospheric evidence of the human impact. In July 2018, the International Union of Geological Sciences split the Holocene epoch into three distinct subsections, Greenlandian (11,700 years ago to 8,200 years ago), Northgrippian (8,200 years ago to 4,200 years ago) and Meghalayan (4,200 years ago to the present), as proposed by International Commission on Stratigraphy.[7] The boundary stratotype of the Meghalayan is a speleothem in Mawmluh cave in India,[8] and the global auxiliary stratotype is an ice core from Mount Logan in Canada.[9]