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Glaciation. Essay

1706 words - 7 pages

Introduction.The Capilano valley has fascinated me for many years. So when I was assigned this field study project, I could not think of a better place to do it on.It was during my first geography class about glaciation, that I asked myself "Has the Capilano valley been glaciated?" In that lesson, I decided to do my research project on the mesmerizing Capilano Valley. I also chose this interesting question to be my hypothesis.This hypothesis is related to Geography as this subject covers information about the interactions of water and land.Although the topic I have chosen may seem to be not as original as one might expect. It is actually very original because of the unique way I chose to present it.I researched the date for this project by visiting the Capilano valley and taking pictures of the evidence of glaciation. No samples were taken from the area in order to preserve the well-balanced eco-system of the Capilano Park.GlaciationDuring the last billion years of Earth history there have been several periods where global average temperatures were much colder than they are today. The colder climates lead to the formation an expansion of extensive continental and alpine glaciers. The last period of glacial advance began about 2 million years ago. For the past 14,000 years we have been experiencing a warming of the global climate which has lead to a retreat of glaciers.Various types of paleoclimatic evidence suggest that the climate of the Earth has varied over time. The data suggests that during most of the Earth's history, global temperatures were probably 8 to 15 deg Celsius warmer than they are today. However, there were periods of times when the Earth's average global temperature became cold. Cold enough for the formation of alpine glaciers and continental glaciers that extended in to the higher, middle and sometimes lower latitudes. In the last billion years of Earth history, glacial periods have started at roughly 925, 800, 680, 450, 330, and 2 million years before present (B.P.). Of these ice ages, the most severe occurred at 800 million years ago when glaciers came within 5 degrees of the equator.The last major glacial period began about 2,000,000 years B.P. and is commonly known as the Pleistocene or Ice Age. During this glacial period, large glacial ice sheets covered much of North America, Europe, and Asia for long periods of time. The extent of the glacier ice during the Pleistocene, however, was not static. The Pleistocene had periods when the glaciers retreated (interglacial) because of mild temperatures, and advanced because of colder temperatures (glacial). Average global temperatures were probably 4 to 5 deg Celsius colder than they are today at the peak of the Pleistocene. The most recent glacial retreat began about 14,000 years B.P. and is still going on.In North America, the Pleistocene glaciers began their formation in the higher altitudes of the Rocky Mountains, and high latitude locations in Greenland and north-central...

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