The Holocene ( / -, -, -/, HOL-ə-seen, HOL-oh-, HOH-lə-, HOH-loh-) 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. The Holocene and the preceding Pleistocene 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.
|0.0117 – 0 Ma|
|Regional usage||Global (ICS)|
|Time scale(s) used||ICS Time Scale|
|Time span formality||Formal|
|Lower boundary definition||End of the Younger Dryas stadial.|
|Lower boundary GSSP||NGRIP2 ice core, Greenland|
|GSSP ratified||2008 (as base of Holocene)|
|Upper boundary definition||Present day|
|Upper boundary GSSP||N/A|
|Part of a series on|
|↑ Prehistory (Pleistocene epoch)|
|Preceded by the Pleistocene|
*Relative to year 2000 (b2k).†Relative to year 1950 (BP/Before "Present").
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. The boundary stratotype of the Meghalayan is a speleothem in Mawmluh cave in India, and the global auxiliary stratotype is an ice core from Mount Logan in Canada.