Ice age is a phrase coined for the period of extensive ice sheets in the recent Pleistocene period. We now know that ice ages have happened a number of times in the past, the greatest and longest of which took place in the Proterozoic era, before multi-cellular eukaryotes evolved.
Stages[change | edit source]
Within an ice age, there are stages. The longer cold stages are called glacials or glacial periods. The shorter warm periods are called interglacials. The last glacial ended about 11,000 years ago when the present interglacial started. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets still exist. The last two million years have been the Pleistocene ice age. In the glacials, large and thick ice sheets covered much of the North American and Eurasian continents.
Many glacial periods have occurred during the last few million years, initially at 40,000-year frequency but more recently at 100,000-year frequencies. These are the best studied. The major glacial stages of the current ice age in North America are the Illinoian, Sangamonian and Wisconsin stages.
Other pages[change | edit source]
References[change | edit source]
- Imbrie J. & Imbri, K.P. 1979. Ice ages: solving the mystery. Short Hills NJ: Enslow. ISBN 978-0-89490-015-0
Other websites[change | edit source]
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