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When have Ice Ages occurred?

Many glacial advances and retreats have occurred during the last billion years of Earth history. These glaciations are not randomly distributed in time.Instead, they are concentrated into four time intervals. Large, important glaciations occurred during the late Proterozoic (between about800 and 600 million years ago), during the Pennsylvanian and Permian (between about 350 and 250 million years ago), and the late Neogene toQuaternary (the last 4 million years). Somewhat less extensive glaciations occurred during portions of the Ordovician and Silurian (between about 460 and 430 million years ago).

During each of these intervals, many glacial advances and retreatsoccurred. For example, over 60 glacial advances and retreats have occurred during the last 2 million years.

If "ice age" is used to refer to long, generally cool, intervals during which glaciers advance and retreat, we are still in one today. Our modern climate represents a very short, warm period between glacial advances.

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ISM Home > Exhibits > Ice Ages>, Last modified September 1st 2011, 03:12PM.