catastrophe in ice ages

30 Jan 2016

At ... this will probably prove to be an important paper as published in the journal Science (Jan 2016) as it introduces an element of catastrophism into the Ice Age debate - normally missing. The idea is that Ice Ages coincide with hydrothermal activity at mid ocean ridges - how catastrophic can you get as that is supposed to be the point at which plates stretch outwards. The University of Connecticut researchers start with the old bone that ice ages have occurred on the earth for the last few million years - or so. It then asks why ice ages occur in cycles - and they are thinking of 40,000 thousand year cycles not the Milankovitch cycle of 100,000 years.

It is also interesting that it homes in on the SE Pacific Ridge that has the fastest spreading rate and the highest magmatic budget of any of the mid ocean ridges. It has over 50 known active vent sites. It extends from the Antarctic to the Gulf of California and enhanced hydrothermal activity at ridges like this are said to have caused ice ages - rather than simply being contemporary with the onset of ice ages and their demise. Although the authors do not intend so they have produced some evidence that the start and finish of ice ages had a catastrophic element - and it can hardly have been confined to the mid ocean ridges.