HOW THE ICE AGE WORKED
THE LONGEST LIST OF THE LONGEST
STUFF AT THE LONGEST DOMAIN NAME AT LONG LAST
How did the Ice Age work?
Global warming certainly has become a hot topic these
days as people are becoming more conscientious about reducing greenhouse gases
and saving on electricity and water. It’s been said that if we do not start to
take better care of our environment, than what we know as global warming will
actually result in another Ice Age. Although the term “Ice Age” brings to the
minds of many people pictures of an entire world covered with ice, some don’t
know how it actually happened. And although there have been many Ice Ages on
Earth, when people speak of it, they are generally referring to the latest Ice
Age, which occurred just a little more than 100,000 years ago.
When people first began to notice evidence that
this Ice Age had occurred, they attributed it to the massive flood that covered
the entire Earth. This is the same flood that is mentioned in The Bible. The
evidence consisted of huge boulders that appeared in areas where no boulders
should be, piles of rocks and debris laying all over Earth and scratches and
markings on the sides of mountains. The largest piece of evidence still lies in
Wisconsin and is known as the Wisconsin Glaciation. However, in Switzerland,
there was a scientist named Louis Agassiz, who believed that there was more to
this evidence than just the flood. He presented his ideas about a period when
the Earth was frozen. His scientist colleagues dismissed the idea as ludicrous.
Although Agassiz was on to something, he was not entirely correct in his ideas.
He believed that the Earth was frozen all at once, and that this freezing may
have been the result of a terrible happening on Earth. However, undeterred by
his colleague’s disbelief, Agassiz went ahead in trying to prove that the Ice
Age ever happened. And it is in great part due to this Swiss scientist that we
know today how the Ice Age worked.
The first element of the Ice Age that Agassiz, and
other scientists like him, studied were the glaciers. They began by looking at
the glaciers in the Jura Mountain range in Switzerland. Within these mountains
were boulders that had come from the Alps, a mountain range that was over fifty
miles away. These boulders helped to explain the glaciers that covered most of
North America and Europe, and it was this finding that helped to greatly explain
the Ice Age. The boulders helped the scientists to develop an explanation
because some of the rocks were smooth while others showed many layers within
them. There were also indentations on the sides of mountains and it was from
these indentations and rocks that scientists were able to determine just how
thick the glaciers and the sheets of ice that covered the Earth were. Their
findings showed that the glacier and sheets of ice could have been as much as
one mile thick.
The scientists also study the activity of the
glaciers to determine how much of the Earth was covered in ice and how much ice
was needed to cover that much of the Earth. These finding showed that
approximately one-third of the world was covered and seventeen cubic miles of
ice was what covered it. Specifically, the areas that were covered were the
entire country of Canada, central United States, Scandinavia, Ireland, Germany,
and the western regions of Russia. They also found that Antarctica, which was
already one massive sheet of ice, held approximately ten percent more than it
does today. The most surprising finding was that ten million square miles of
North America was covered in glaciers, approximately thirteen times what there
is today. But the water had to come from somewhere to form these glaciers and
the oceans were the source of that water. Because so much of the ocean’s water
was going to form glaciers, sea levels dipped to 350 to 400 feet of what they
However, these glaciers did not stay in one place.
Some have attributed to their motion to that of bulldozers, as they move up and
then move back, leaving in their wake huge piles of rocks and other debris that
breaks off from glaciers as they move. This glacial movement caused arctic
deserts to form in the areas surrounding the glaciers and this meant that
although the ice didn’t actually cover everything on Earth, they certainly
affected every aspect of the planet. Winds were also very great and this wind
caused dust, which is known as loess, to cover the land.
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