THE WORLD IS HEATING TODAY, and the glaciers on Earth are shrinking rapidly. But about 18,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age, it was the opposite.
The whole of northern Europe and much of North America was covered with ice, and as the ice progressed south, it crushed everything in its path and shaped the terrain. This was not the first Ice Age the world had ever seen, and apparently, it will not be the last.
From the sky, the Greenland glacier layer is like a giant blanket with a wrinkled tip. During the Late Glacial Age, scenarios are produced that suggests that such images exist throughout the entire Northern Hemisphere. At that time, one-third of Earth was covered with glaciers – ten times the number of glaciers currently on Earth.
Throughout the history of the Earth, four great Ice Age took place. The coldest of these was about 700 million years ago, and almost the entire planet was covered with ice.
Up to 12,000 years ago, the vegetation of cold, windy and sparsely scattered dwarf trees tundra uncovered parts of Europe and North America. Despite its harsh climate, the tundra was the home of the Ice Age mammals, among them feathered mammoths and feathered rhinos. These giant herbivores evolved to survive the cold, and when the Ice Age came to an end and the weather warmed, their generation was slowly exhausted. The last herd of mammoths lived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean about 4,000 years ago.
Glaciers often pull huge pieces of rock away from their places and drag them too far distances. When the ice melts, the rock remains where it is moved. This rock in California’s Yosemite Valley is about the size of a house. The largest rock in the world drifted by glaciers is Canada, 40 m long and 16,500 tons in weight.
Ice in the Last Ice Age
This map shows the largest area where glaciers spread 18,000 years ago. North America was covered with ice until modern-day New York, and in Europe, glaciers descended to the south of England. Then 12,000 years ago, the climate began to warm up and the glaciers retreated. Scientists think that the Ice Age is caused by many different things.
It is an accepted theory that changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun in the past were one of these reasons.