An Ice Age is a period of Earth's history when ice sheets covered a much larger part of the planet than is currently the case. Old Earth supporters claim that several such periods have occurred over millions of years of geological time, but this view is disputed by a group of scientists who believe in Young Earth Creationism. See Creation Science and counterexamples to an Ice Age.
Number of ages
- The study of the ice ages is remarkably interdisciplinary. To be an expert in this field, a scientist must have a comprehensive knowledge of geology, physics, glaciology, oceanography, atmospheric science, celestial mechanics, solar system astrophysics, cosmic rays, solar physics, interplanetary dust, climate modeling, spectral analysis, and statistics. As a consequence, there are no real experts.
Cooling and warming
If the Earth cools down, evaporation and therefore precipitation are reduced, so little snow will fall onto land to form ice sheets. If the Earth heats up, evaporation and precipitation are increased, but the precipitation falls as rain rather than snow, or melts rather than forming ice sheets.
Earth and rock worn and smoothed by ice sheets, along with U-shaped valleys and termination deposition debris, known as terminal moraine, are the main evidence for an Ice Age, and there is evidence of such glaciation covering northern Europe (including most of Britain), most of Canada, and into the northern parts of the eastern half of the United States.
Creationists argue that the post-Flood environment provides the best explanation for an Ice Age, with the oceans being warmed by the addition of hot subterranean water, but the land being kept cool by volcanic dust in the atmosphere reflecting much of the sun's heat back to space. Thus evaporation and precipitation would be high, without the snow melting because the land was cooler.
The Bible perhaps mentions this Ice Age:
From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens
when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
Job 38:29-30 (NIV)
- Batten, Don, et al., 2007, What about the Ice Age?, The Creation Answers Book, Chapter 16
- Oard, M.J., 1990. An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood, Technical Monograph, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA,
- Ice Age, World Book Encyclopedia 2000 CD ROM
- Batten, 2007
- Ice Ages and Astronomical Causes
- Discovery of the Great Ice Age
- Aber, James S., Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz
- Wieland, Carl, Tackling the big freeze, Interview with weather scientist Michael Oard, Creation 19(1):42–43, December 1996.