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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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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.