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The Ice Age Happened, but How?

Wooly Mammoths grazing: ID 67725239 © William Roberts | Dreamstime.com

[Originally published as Explaining the Ice Age]

Political and educational figures are attempting to deal with climate changes, which many scientists claim are caused by man-made technologies. There have been major climate changes in the past, but none of them resulted from man or man-made technologies.Here’s something to consider as a national debate develops.

One of the great mysteries of world history is the Ice Age

and the Ice Age animals that lived within the past few thousand years. The usual assumption is that the Ice Age began because something caused the earth to begin cooling.

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However, this is a false assumption.

Colder temperatures alone could never start an ice age with its buildup of massive amounts of snow. A drop in the average world temperature would produce fewer rather than more snow-producing clouds. This is because little water evaporates from cold oceans, and cold air does not hold much water vapor. In fact, super cold environments are technically deserts.

A combination of two extremely rare conditions is necessary in order to put enough moisture into the air to produce large amounts of snow. These conditions are

  • cooler summer temperatures and
  • warmer ocean waters, especially in the Polar Regions.

Water Cycle illustration: ID 43486019 © Elena Drozhzhina | Dreamstime.comIn order for snow clouds to form, liquid water must evaporate as water vapor. The process of evaporation occurs faster when the water is warm. The air above the water must also be warm enough to hold large amounts of water vapor until it can rise into higher regions of the atmosphere where the air is colder.

Eventually, the water vapor will condense back into tiny particles of liquid water and form clouds. At colder temperatures, tiny ice crystals quickly form within the clouds and eventually fall to earth as snow.

In addition to warm waters and warm air, one additional condition is needed to start an ice age. There must be something that prevents all the winter snow and ice from melting every summer. During an ice age, new layers of snow are added every year on top of older layers.

So, what is a possible explanation for why the ocean waters became warmer at the same time the average temperature of the world became cooler?

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The Biblical history of the world gives a very plausible, straightforward explanation.

Genesis 6-8 gives an account of a worldwide Flood that occurred more than 4000 years ago. There were unrepeatable conditions around the world following the Flood that would have been optimal for starting an ice age.

Michael Oard, the author of Frozen in Time and a specialist in meteorology, agrees that a worldwide Flood occurred over 4000 years ago that was followed by an Ice Age. He estimates that the Ice Age would have lasted from 500 to 800 years from beginning to end. He is one of several scientists who propose the following explanation for what happened.

The earth’s crustal plates broke open as the Flood began, exposing the oceans to the warmer temperatures of the deep crust. There was also an increase in volcanic activity on the ocean floor, which would have warmed the oceans even more. Then the warmer ocean waters would have warmed the air above it.

The evaporation of water from warm oceans, as well as the warm air above the oceans, would have put huge amounts of water vapor and clouds into the air. Abundant snow would have occurred around the Polar Regions, with glaciers first forming in the higher elevations and later expanding to low-lying areas and shorelines. Eventually glaciers would have moved even farther into more temperate regions.

At the same time, the movement and shifting of tectonic plates in the earth’s crust would have caused a great increase in volcanic activity. The large amount of volcanic ash in the atmosphere would have blocked some of the radiations from the sun, causing the overall temperatures of the earth to remain cooler than usual. This cooling period would have aided in the buildup of huge glaciers and sheets of ice, because it prevented much of the snow on the ground from melting.

The Ice Age would have ended as the oceans cooled and the intense volcanic activity slowed. The unrepeatable conditions that would have been present at the end the Flood are a logical explanation for why the Ice Age began and ended and why another ice age will never occur again.

What does history say about this period of time? The very early cities and civilizations of the earth during the Ice Age were located in the more temperate areas of the earth and were not greatly affected by the icy conditions. They were, however, receiving abundant rain for the same reasons other parts of the world were receiving huge amounts of snow.

The Ice Age provides a very credible explanation for the extinction of woolly mammoths and other Ice Age animals. There is no question that these animals were living on the earth within the last few thousand years. A few probably remained as recently as a few hundred years ago.

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The covering of flat lands with sheets of ice would explain why millions of woolly mammoths rapidly became extinct. The ice would have destroyed the large fields of grasses and the fresh water that they depended upon for their survival. Some ice age animals probably moved to more temperate regions. Unable to adapt and survive in these new environments, they also became extinct.

Reference: Frozen in Time by Michael Oard, MasterBooks.

Dr. Carolyn Reeves

Written by Dr. Carolyn Reeves

I taught junior high school science for thirty years before retiring. After reading evidence for a worldwide flood, I was convinced that not only was the flood real history, but the Bible was God’s inerrant, infallible, inspired Word. I coauthored a series of elementary science books published by MasterBooks, and later produced videos for all of the investigations. I have written several articles and anthologies for Christian publications. I maintain my own website, Underground Paradigm, where I write articles pertaining to a variety of topics that support biblical teachings. My husband, Jim Reeves, and I have three children and fourteen grandchildren. We are active members of a local Mississippi Baptist church.
I have three degrees: B.S. (major in biology and minor in chemistry); Master of Combined Sciences; and Doctor of Education.

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