The How the Ice Age worked.



How did the Ice Age work?

It’s amazing that any life form could survive this time on Earth but in fact it did. The glaciers also showed evidence that life form existed because it was the glaciers that fossilized these creatures. Although there may be more unknown life forms, what we do know is that wooly mammoths, bison, wild horses, musk oxen, caribou, lions, antelope, and the short-faced bear, all played a part in the world during the time of the Ice Age. They survived the cold temperatures due to their body’s ability to keep fat reserves that kept them warm and they also grew coats that were thick enough to endure the icy temperatures.

There are a few different theories of what caused the Ice Age. Milutin Milankovitch, a mathematician during the 1920s, explained that the cause of the Ice Age was simply the inability of an appropriate amount of sunlight to reach Earth. This was due to three different causes. These were how the Earth tilts on its axis, how it moves on that axis, and how near the Earth comes to the sun. He placed all of these factors within a mathematical formula and determined that an Ice Age would happen every 22,000, 41,000, and 100,000 years. The cycle of these years was thereafter known as the Milankovitch Cycles.

Along with this theory is the explanation that once the Earth becomes that cold, it is likely to remain that cold due to the inability of the ice to absorb the sun’s heat. Because the Earth was comprised of so much ice, it would simply reflect the sun and not retain any of its heat. Not only will this hinder the Earth from warming up but, it will also cause temperatures to drop even further and new glaciers to form. The summers would be shorter and although there would be some melting of the ice during this seasonal period, once winter came, it would not only compensate for that melting but it would also cause more to freeze.

How the Earth’s plates move also seems to play its own part in the Ice Age. This theory lies in the fact that where a continent is on Earth will determine the climate of that continent. Continents that lay at high latitudes and altitudes will be colder and will be the most likely to see the formation of glaciers. This is why it is the northern continents that were most affected by the ice sheets. When the plates of the Earth move, they collide together to create mountain formations and they recede away from each other to form huge oceanic trenches. This activity on Earth has also been attributed to some of the drastic temperature change because it changes the structure of Earth.

Changes in atmospheric gases are yet another theory as to why the Ice Age occurred. Studies have been done on the trapped air from the glacial ages have shown that during the time of the Ice Age, the presence of these gases was extremely low, specifically carbon dioxide and methane gas. When these gases are at normal levels, they remain close to Earth and provide it warmth. However, if there aren’t enough gases, the heat escapes, causing temperatures to drop and glaciers and ice sheets to form. Although this is thought to be a cause of the Ice Age, scientists cannot determine why these gas levels would fall to such a significantly low level in the first place. However, there were more than gases, or the lack of, in the atmosphere that are thought to be reason for the Ice Age.

Other atmospheric changes played their part as well. One of these changes was the incredible amount of dust that was in the air. Because the amount of dust was so great and the dust was so thick, this was another cause of the sun not being able to fully reach Earth. Sunspots, which are areas of the sun that are cooler than the rest of the sun, have also been thought to be a cause of the Ice Age. Sun spots are cold, dark spots on the sun that contain magnetic energy. Although these sun spots are cold, they actually help to make the Earth warmer because the magnetic energy reduces the amount of clouds. The less clouds that are present, the more sun is getting to Earth. When the sun has a lower amount of sunspots than it should, it creates more cloud cover and limits the sun’s exposure on Earth. It has been noted that the activity of these sunspots has been very low lately and that’s one reason why people believe that we may be heading towards another Ice Age. But are we?

No one can say for certain whether there will or won’t be another Ice Age anytime soon. This is because no one really knows how much ice needs to be on Earth for it to be considered an Ice Age and because no one can say with any real authority on what actually caused the Ice Age. It may be safe to say that there will definitely be another Ice Age, given that all studies show that Ice Ages happen periodically on Earth however, no one can say when the next one is likely to happen.


the Ice Age.

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