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Stories Of Our Earth: Causes For Ice Ages And Their Impact On Geography

2221 words - 9 pages

Will the ice ages happen again? Ice Ages are dramatically landform changing points in time when the temperatures around the world, including the atmosphere and the surface of the Earth, are consistently cold for spans of over thousands of years. Ice ages force a glacial period (when thick, large sheets of ice cover a massive portion of the Earth’s northern hemisphere). Studies show that ice used to cover approximately 30% of the Earth during our last ice age. A point in time can be classified as an ice age as long there are permanent ice sheets, ice glaciers of size over 50,000 km2. That’s roughly 9 football fields. So technically, we’re in the middle of an ice age because we still have large ice sheets such as Greenland and Antarctica. However, because the Earth is quite warm and so we call this time period as interglacial, a period between ice ages that has an irregular climate compared to the rest of the ice age.
According to geologists, there have been approximately 5 major ice ages so far. They began appearing roughly 2,300,000,000 years ago, up until the most recent one, which still has not ended yet. This time period when ice ages occur is known as the glacial period. The cause for the Ice Ages is controversial and debated commonly by geographers and not all of them agree on one theory/idea as to why the ice ages may have happened, but there are certain theories that many believe could have caused the beginning of the ice ages. One of the leading theories for the cause for ice age involves the idea of another theory, plate tectonics, which states that the Earth’s surface, which are divided into plates, are constantly moving. The theory suggests that the plates of the Earth collided into each other, creating higher altitudes for the landforms, which in general made the land very cold. Once the ice formed in these high altitude areas, they began to expand to areas around it and did not melt very often, as ice is albedo, which means it reflects a lot of sunlight and does not absorb it.
At one point in time, the concept of the Ice Ages were nothing but an idea, but now most people, including geologists believe it to have occurred after the abundance of proof that backs up this theory. Changes in land formations during the ice ages happened in different ways, but most of them relate to the process of glaciation. During the Ice Age, glaciation, the process of being covered by ice sheets took place over giant land masses and entire continents which is known as “continental glaciation”. As this large scale glaciation took place, changes in land formations occurred, that of which are uncommon to be formed today. They include moraines, drumlins, kames, eskers, and Kettle Lakes. Most of the evidence that was discovered has to do with the Earth’s geography, the physical features of the Earth. The ways these glaciers affected the landscape were separated into three different categories: erosion, transportation and deposition.
Moraines are rocks and...

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