Professor Colin Waters

Honorary Professor

School/Department: Geography, Geology & The Environment, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)133 285 0098



I am currently Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) of the ICS Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy and Secretary of the Geological Society Stratigraphy Commission. I have a central role in coordinating activities of the AWG as part of the formalization process for recognizing the Anthropocene as a new geological time unit. I also have specific interests in characterizing the nature and scale of human modification of the landscape particularly through the accumulation of novel materials (e.g. plastic and concrete) and artificial deposits. I also have published widely on UK Carboniferous stratigraphy and sedimentology. I was awarded an honorary professor in the Department of Geology in 2016. I retired in 2017 as a Principal Mapping Geologist at the British Geological Survey where over nearly 30 years’ service I specialized in geological mapping of the UK (mainly northern and central England) and parts of the Sahara Desert.


All my research in Carboniferous and Anthropocene stratigraphy is being carried out in my retirement without funding.


Waters, CN 2018. A Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs) for the Anthropocene Series: Where and how to look for a potential candidate. Earth-Science Reviews, 178, 379-429.  
Waters, CN et al. 2016. The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene. Science, 351, 6269, 137. 
Waters, CN et al. 2015. Can nuclear weapons fallout mark the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 71(3), 46-57. 
Waters, CN et al. 2014. A Stratigraphical basis for the Anthropocene. Geological Society, London, Special Publication, 395.
Waters, CN et al. 2014. Millstone Grit Group (Pennsylvanian) of the Northumberland−Solway Basin and Alston Block of northern England. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society, 60, 29-51. 
Waters, CN & Condon, DJ 2012. Nature and timing of Late Mississippian to Mid Pennsylvanian glacio-eustatic sea-level changes of the Pennine Basin, UK. Journal of the Geological Society 169, 37-51. 
Waters, CN et al. 2011. A Revised Correlation of Carboniferous Rocks in the British Isles. Special Report No. 26. (London: The Geological Society.) 186pp.
Waters, CN & Davies, SJ 2006. Chapter 9: Carboniferous extensional basins, advancing deltas and coal swamps. 173-223 in The Geology of England and Wales, Second Edition (Eds. Brenchley, PJ & Rawson, PF).
Waters, CN. et al. 1994. Structural synthesis of S. Staffordshire, UK: implications for the Variscan evolution of the Pennine Basin. Journal of the Geological Society, 151, 697-713.
Waters, CN 1990. The Cenozoic tectonic evolution of Alpine Corsica. Journal of the Geological Society, 147, 811-824.


The wide range of markers indicative of the Holocene-Anthropocene transition; depositional history of UK Carboniferous basins.

Press and media

Issues relating to the Anthropocene concept and ongoing work to formalize this as an epoch of the geological time scale.


Chair Anthropocene Working Group of the ICS Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy Secretary Geological Society Stratigraphy Commission Yorkshire Geological Society Council member


Waters CN et al. 2021. Progress on the appraisal and definition of the proposed Anthropocene Epoch/Series. Geological Association of Canada-Mineralogical Asociation of Canada London Canada 4th November 2021 Waters CN 2021. Artificial radionuclide fallout: a marker for the start of the Anthropocene Epoch. Comprehensive-Nuclear-Test-Ban-Treaty SnT2021 Vienna 2nd July 2021. Waters CN et al. 2021. Progress in assessment of the Anthropocene Series in the Geological Time Scale (GTS). EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts EGU21-9491. Waters CN et al. 2019. Progress in the investigation for a potential Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the Anthropocene Series. ST3.11 Quaternary stratigraphy and chronostratigraphy. STRATI 2019 Milan. 2nd July 2019. Waters CN et al. 2019 Progress in the investigation of a potential Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the Anthropocene Series. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 21 EGU2019. Waters CN 2019. The Anthropocene Epoch: the expression of human impact on the Earth. Futures Congress: Santiago Chile 14th January 2019. 


Oxford University (1984) Bachelor of Arts Geology and Mineralogy (2:1 Honours). University College Cardiff (1987) Doctor of Philosophy ‘Tectono-metamorphic relationships between Hercynian continental basement and the Eoalpine Schistes lustrés nappes of NE Corsica’ Fellow of the Geological Society of London (1984-present) Chartered Geologist (CGeol) from 1996-2018. 
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