Palaeo ice sheet reconstruction

Donau There are four named major glaciations in North America. The earliest, the Nebraskan , is found on the plains of the central United States. The Kansan overlies it and extends slightly farther southwest into Kansas. The Illinoian , as the name implies, terminates primarily in Illinois. This last advance removed most evidence of earlier glaciations in these regions. The actual positions of the southern edges of these ice sheets varied considerably from glacial to glacial. The northern extent of the ice is poorly known at best.

Glacier Glossary

Nelson Tulane University Glaciers constitute much of the Earth that makes up the cryosphere, the part of the Earth that remains below the freezing point of water. Most glacial ice today is found in the polar regions, above the Arctic and Antarctic Circles. While glaciers are of relatively minor importance today, evidence exists that the Earth’s climate has undergone fluctuations in the past, and that the amount of the Earth’s surface covered by glaciers has been much larger in the past than in the present.

In fact, much of the topography in the northern part of North America, as well as in the high mountain regions of the west, owe their form to erosional and depositional processes of glaciers.

Rocky Mountain National Park – Wildlife There are at least 66 indigenous mammals to Rocky Mountain National y bear, gray wolf, and bison have been extirpated (i.e. are locally extinct), and two others – lynx and wolverine – are either extirpated or extremely rare.

March 28, This post is about elevation measurements for exposure-dating samples, and how accurate they need to be. Basically, the main thing that controls cosmogenic-nuclide production rates is site elevation, or, more precisely, atmospheric pressure — at higher elevation, there is less atmosphere between you and the extraterrestrial cosmic-ray flux, so the production rate is higher. Thus, to compute the cosmogenic-nuclide production rate at a sample site, the first thing we need to know is the elevation.

Once we know the elevation, we can convert it to a mean atmospheric pressure using a model for how the atmospheric pressure varies with elevation, and then compute the production rate. The second one — converting an elevation to a mean atmospheric pressure during the exposure duration of the sample — is actually a fairly complicated problem and is the subject of another post , as well as a fairly large number of papers. However, the first one — accurately measuring the elevation — ought to be pretty simple.

In general, determining your elevation is a fairly well-established technology that people have been working on for centuries. So the rest of this post covers i exactly how precise we need elevation measurements to be, and ii various ways to accomplish or not accomplish that goal. So how precise do we need elevation measurements to be? Basically, the point of all this is that we would like to be able to measure elevations with better than 10 m precision. Preferably quite a lot better.

Note, however, that this condition dates back only to approximately the year

Planetary Science

Magnitudes and rates of change under different environmental scenarios The past is the key to the future Sea level rise to Modified from the IPCC sea level rise estimates from Wikimedia Commons and using estimates from Bamber and Aspinall , assuming a uniform rate of sea level rise. By examining how ice sheets responded to change in the past, glaciologists hope to uncover details that will help them understand how they are likely to change in the future. By looking at how ice sheets changed over long timescales, they can extend the short observation period over the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Glaciers. A glacier is a large mass of ice moving slowly over some land surface or down a valley, formed over long periods from the accumulation of snow in areas where the amount of snow that falls exceeds the amount that melts.

In the sciences, it is important to distinguish between precision and accuracy. If we use the analogue of a clock we can investigate this further. Your wrist watch may measure time with a precision of one second. A stop watch may time your race with a precision of one hundredth of a second. However, if the clocks change and you forget to reset your wrist watch, then you have a very precise time but it is not very accurate — you will be an hour early or late for all of your meetings!

Scientists want measurements that are both accurate and precise… but it can be difficult to tell sometimes whether very precise measurements are actually accurate without an independent reference age see top right image versus bottom right image. Accurate measurements fall in the bulls eye. Precise measurements are tightly clustered. Accurate and precise measurements are tightly clustered in the bulls eye!

This is a problem we regularly encounter in chronostratigraphy. Analytical techniques are very advanced and precise, but they may be inaccurate. Geological data frequently has difficulties in dating things, even if the analytical techniques can give very precise answers.

Paleo Indian stone totem figurine art

Research into glaciation cycles began in the 19th century, but scientists still can’t agree on why ice ages occur. Now there’s new evidence that a cold epoch is in the wings. Those of us who live in the Midwest United States seem to have the worst of both worlds.

The Discovery. A waning screech catapults me out of a daydream. Overhead, a circling hawk parts the sky with a twist of its red tail and I’m back on the bare cornfield where I’ve been walking for hours.

Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. Quaternary life The length of the Quaternary is short relative to geologic and evolutionary time scales, but the rate of evolutionary change during this period is high. It is a basic tenet of ecology that disturbance increases diversity and ultimately leads to evolutionary pressures. The Quaternary is replete with forces of disturbance and evidence for evolution in many living systems.

Examples of disturbance include the direct destruction of habitat by glacial advance, the drying of vast plains, increases in size of lakes, a decrease in the area of warm, shallow, continental shelves and carbonate banks, and shifts in ocean currents and fronts. Fauna and flora Ninety percent of the animals represented by Quaternary fossils were recognized by Charles Lyell as being similar to modern forms.

Many genera and even species of shellfish, insects, marine microfossils, and terrestrial mammals living today are similar or identical to their Pleistocene ancestors. However, many Pleistocene fossils demonstrate spectacular differences. For example, sabre-toothed cats , woolly mammoths , and cave bears are widely known from museum exhibits and popular literature but are extinct today.

Expansion of some environments , such as vast dry steppe grasslands, were favourable areas for bison, horses, antelopes, and their predators.

Deglaciation of the Eurasian ice sheet complex

View images by clicking on link or reduced image: Each image opens into a new window. These primitive, medium sized apes lived in rain forests between 18 and 22 million years ago. This species and others such as Dryopithecus existed before the hominid line diverged on the path to humans.

Aucanquilcha (pronounced: OW-kahn-KEEL-chuh) is a massive stratovolcano located in the Antofagasta Region of northern Chile, just west of the border with Bolivia and within the Alto Loa National of the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes, the stratovolcano has the form of a ridge with a maximum height of 6, metres (20, ft).The volcano is embedded in a larger cluster of.

The CVZ generates magmas at a rate of 0. The arc has migrated eastward towards the high Andes from the Pacific Ocean coast since the Jurassic. The Aucanquilcha complex is much smaller volumetrically than the APVC ignimbrites, but the duration of activity and the location indicate that Aucanquilcha is a subcomponent of the APVC complex. In all such cases, an early peak in magma output is followed by later lower-volume activity 0. Such decreases may occur because of the lithostatic load imposed by the edifices on the magma chambers and the increased travel distance of the magma through the edifice.

Aucanquilcha is part of a cluster of volcanoes located between the Rio Loa and the Chile — Bolivia border. It was at first identified as a debris avalanche , but the lack of hummocky topography and the presence of large juvenile blocks identify it as a pyroclastic flow. It is likely that two small lava domes Cerro Cumbre Negra and Summit on the northwest flank occupy flank vents. On its southern side lies the Cerro Chela volcano. Its volcanoes are arranged in north-south and northwestern alignments, which may indicate a rupture of the crust above shallow magma reservoirs.


Whilst recent terrestrial and marine empirical insights have improved understanding of the chronology, pattern and rates of retreat of this vast ice sheet, a concerted attempt to model the deglaciation of the EISC honouring these new constraints is conspicuously lacking. Retreat of the ice sheet complex was highly asynchronous, reflecting contrasting regional sensitivities to climate forcing, oceanic influence, and internal dynamics.

Most rapid retreat was experienced across the Barents Sea sector after

Glaciers Glaciers back to Contents of Entire Course. Definition of a glacier Mountain Glaciers Ice Sheets: (Continental glaciers) Ice Shelves The Formation of Glacial Ice.

Devonian Relics Earth Sculpted by Ice: Near the end of the Devonian Period some million years ago – long before Earth’s Ice Ages – Illinois, as well as much of the Midwestern United States, was at the bottom of a shallow sea teeming with life. The seabed in this region was iron-rich and oily with decayed sea life. Much of the ancient plants that came later during the Pennsylvanian Period mya became coal in this region. After the water had steamed away, a smooth, reddish-brown mass rich in silicates was left.

Most of this material became microcrystalline jasper. Some of the silicates crystallized into cavities such as geodes but also within Devonian fossils, sometimes replicating the original animal in great crystalline detail.

Big Melt Down: Columbia Icefield

See my copyright notice for fair use practices. Select the photographs to display the original source in another window. Links to external sites will be displayed in another window. Terrestrial planets have hard surfaces that can be re-shaped by several different processes: Impact Cratering There are still small chunks of rock orbiting the Sun left over from the formation of the solar system.

Quaternary – Quaternary life: The length of the Quaternary is short relative to geologic and evolutionary time scales, but the rate of evolutionary change during this period is high. It is a basic tenet of ecology that disturbance increases diversity and ultimately leads to evolutionary pressures. The Quaternary is replete with forces of disturbance and evidence for evolution in many living.

The results are called ice bergs, bergy bits and crevasse wall breakaways. Water can be drawn upwards by capillary action. After glaciation, the depression may contain a lake. Releases calories per gram. In the Pleistocene, vast portions of the Americas and Eurasia were covered by continental glaciers. Crevasses form due to extensional changes in velocity or gradient. They can be oriented to the glacier transverse, longitudinal or oblique and occur in marginal, central or terminal positions on the ice.

A crevasse which causes an ice block to displace has caused calving.


Quaternary: Quaternary, in the geologic history of Earth, a unit of time within the Cenozoic Era, beginning 2,, years ago and continuing to the present day. The Quaternary has been characterized by several periods of glaciation (the “ice ages” of common lore), when ice sheets many kilometres thick have.

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