Collisions Between Continents Triggered Ice Ages

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According to the science, the Earth passed through three Ice Ages, so far, each one of them spanning over millions of years. Hypothetically speaking, some scientists believe, we’re still in the last Ice Age which started approximately 35 million years ago. According to a new MIT study, however, collisions between continents triggered Ice Ages.

More specifically, the MIT researchers established a connection between Ice Ages and collisions between equatorial tectonic plates. The last Ice Age, for instance, commenced after a series of violent earthquakes. When impacting, tectonic plates generate vast mountain ranges from which sutures emerge. The MIT study noted that every Ice Age that the Earth experienced began after the occurrence of those “sutures” caused by collisions between continents.

“At each peak in the tropical suture zone, glaciation occurred,” explains Dr. Oliver Jagoutz, a geologist at MIT, and the study’s leading author. “In summary, every time a suture extends over 10,000 km, a new Ice Age begins.”

Collisions Between Continents Caused Ice Ages To Begin

The massive collisions between continents, or tectonic plates, release considerable volumes of oceanic soil into the open. After that, the climate of the tropics makes these rocks coming from the seabed to suck more CO2 from the Earth’s atmosphere, a phenomenon that lowers the temperatures.

Accordingly, the chemical reactions between the calcium and magnesium in the seabed rocks and the CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere is what caused the Ice Ages and the Earth to cool down. However, the same process reversed the global cooling periods and put an end to each Ice Age in part. How that’s possible? That’s because the rocks eroded in time and couldn’t store more greenhouse gases. “This Earth process is very slow and very different from our actions on Earth. It won’t harm us, but it won’t save us either,” said Oliver Jagoutz, so we can’t counteract global warming with an Ice Age.

In conclusion, collisions between continents caused Ice Ages, and the Earth is, theoretically, still in the last Ice Age which started 35 million years ago, an MIT study revealed.