Ice Age

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Ice Age:

see Pleistocene epochPleistocene epoch
, 6th epoch of the Cenozoic era of geologic time (see Geologic Timescale, table). According to a classification that considered its deposits to have been formed by the biblical great flood, the epoch was originally called the Quaternary.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ice Age


a relatively long stage in the geological history of the earth during which, against the background of a general relative cooling of the climate, there was repeated alternation of very cold intervals of time (glacials), when extensive continental glaciation occurred, and intervals of time with a warmer climate (interglacials), when a significant part of the continental ice melted. Ice ages have been established in the Lower Proterozoic in North America; in the Upper Riphean in Africa and Australia; in the Wend in Europe, Asia, and North America; in the Ordovician of Africa; and at the end of the Carboniferous and the beginning of the Permian on the continent of Gondwana. The ice age of the Pleistocene has been studied most.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

ice age

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A major interval of geologic time during which extensive ice sheets (continental glaciers) formed over many parts of the world.

Ice Age

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McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Warm interglacial periods generally last about 10,000 years, and the one we are living in already is almost 12,000 years old.
2006: Disjunct distributions during glacial and interglacial periods in mountain butterfies: Erebia epiphron as an example.
Geographers from the universities of Edinburgh and Northumbria have recently published a paper in Nature Communications (doi: 10.1038/ ncomms10325) in which they provide a new insight into West Antarctica during interglacial periods. They outline field evidence to show that the minimal configuration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in a warmer world involved regional ice sheets ~500 kilometres across that survived on three mountain blocks in West Antarctica, with marine seaways in between.
Although the possibility of other hominins traversing Arabia and occupying the site of discovery during the interglacial period cannot be completely ruled out, it becomes more than a coincidence that they and modern humans in east Africa used nearly identical tools.
The most distinctive features of the Quaternary have been repeated continental-scale glaciations alternating with warm interglacial periods. Investigations of a great number of Quaternary scientists have been aimed to reconstruct and interpret changes in geological processes and climate through this time.
280) that he believes are vital to our future: (1) the current unusually stable interglacial period, (2) our great soil bank of nutrients, (3) our great energy bank of fossil fuels, (4) the enormous growth of human knowledge, and (5) the tremendous extension of medical knowledge and public health management.
Unit 1 results correspond to the end of the Last Interglacial period. Younger ages, up to OIS 4, which correspond to the samples from the beach at Razo, might reflect rejuvenation due to recurrent post-burial weathering, because they were located at the mouth of quite an important drainage channel.
Because of a rapid warming trend over 30 years, the study concludes Earth is now reaching and passing through the warmest temperatures in the current interglacial period, which has lasted nearly 12,000 years.
One idea: Since the animals had become so adapted (adjusted) to a chilly climate, their bodies were no longer able to cope with the heat of an interglacial period.
At the moment the world is experiencing an interglacial period that has already lasted 12,000 years, twice as long as average for warm spells between ice ages.
GRIP Project Members, 1993, Climate instability during the last interglacial period recorded in the GRIP ice core: Nature, v.