Snowball Earth-Final

This topic submitted by Roopa Kamesh, Kathy Groome, and Matt Beversdorf on 4/30/02 .

Global Climate Change -Western Program-Miami University

Theory of Snowball Earth



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BACKGROUND: The theory of snowball Earth states that the continents and oceans were covered in ice approximately 600 million years ago. The Earth may have remained in this frozen form, but it was rescued by the release of volcanic gases. While the Earth was in a deep freeze, chemical cycles were halted; as a result, carbon dioxide accumulated in the atmosphere causing an extreme greenhouse effect. After 10 million years of deep freeze, the Earth thawed in only a few hundred years. These dramatic events may have caused the explosion of life forms seen in Cambrian fossils (Hoffman and Schrag 2000). Brian Harland first proposed the idea of a Precambrian great glaciation in 1964 after studying widespread glacial deposits. Later, in the late 1980's, Kirschvink coined the term Snowball Earth (Hoffman and Schrag 1999). Since then, several people have contributed to the discussion of the possibility of Snowball Earth (Hoffman et al 1998, Hoffman and Schrag 2000).

Find out more by visiting our Snowball Earth Website--The Theory of Snowball Earth.

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