Ice Ages Through Time
In-Class Activity 1_Ice Ages & Climate Dynamics
Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD and Marjorie Chan PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics
- Understanding that climate changes over time.
- Hypothesize the causes of ice ages on Earth and extrapolate those causes to Mars.
Watch Earth's Paleogeography through time:
The correlation between continent distribution and ice
Ask students the following questions and discuss responses as they watch the YouTube video in Engage:
- Do the positions of continents effect whether Earth is in an ice age? Explain why or why not.
- What distributions of continents promote ice ages?
- What distributions prevent ice ages?
- What other factors of ice ages does the distribution of continents effect?
Share the following with students:
Ice ages are periods of low temperature when glacial ice develops in continental and polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. In Earth's geologic record, large-scale ice ages are related to climate, sea level, tectonics (plate configurations and positions), and Earth orbital parameters. Fluctuations in the amount of insolation (incoming solar radiation) are the cause of high frequency changes in Earth's climate during the Quaternary.
- This PBS video is one way to visually help explain ice ages. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/cause-ice-age.html
- Another reference page is: http://geology.utah.gov/surveynotes/gladasked/gladice_ages.htm
- This video shows a simulation of solar insolation and climate feedback relationships for the last 100,000 years.
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