Thursday, June 20, 2024

“Snowball”.. What happened to Earth 635 million years ago? Will it happen again? | Science


Until now, scientists believe that the “snowball” wave hit the Earth not only once, but two or three times, and there is nothing to prevent this event from happening again, especially because it is associated with disturbances in orbits and inclinations. A planet that occurs up to now.

In its history, the Earth experienced several ice ages during which temperatures dropped dramatically, the last of which ended about 12,000 years ago, and we now live in what scientists call an “interglacial” period with moderate temperatures.

Snowball hypothesis

But these ice ages are the most remarkable This happened about 635 million years agoScientists describe it as one of the worst cold waves in Earth’s history, during which temperatures in some areas reached 100 degrees below zero, and it covered the entire globe from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

This phenomenon is known as the “Snowball Earth Hypothesis”. Snowball Earth hypothesisA term coined in the eighties of the last century by the geologist Joseph Kirschwing from the Caltech Institute in the United States, at that time scientists questioned the validity of this hypothesis, but the integration of evidence from time and the earth and climate science, I found the interest of most scientists.

With a combination of time and evidence from Earth and climate science, the “Snowy Globe Hypothesis” has caught the interest of most scientists (Getty Images)

In this regard, researchers believe that the penetration of the Earth’s heavy ice is associated with a decrease in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (such as carbon dioxide).

But the drop in temperature led to the formation of large amounts of ice that reflected sunlight and did not absorb it as much as the planet normally would, causing a further drop in temperature and correspondingly more ice.

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Was it really an ice ball?

Scientists agree that this period saw the largest ice sheet in Earth’s history, but it was not a complete ball, but almost complete.

Just The study was recently published in Nature CommunicationsNew evidence collected in the Eastern Forest of Shennongjia in China’s Hubei Province indicates that the land was not completely frozen, but rather had patches of open water in some shallow oceans in the mid-latitudes.

Mid latitudes lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle and the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle.

A previous NASA study in 2015 indicated that Earth may not have been entirely a ball of ice (Shutterstock).

According to a study published on April 4, the scientists reached these conclusions based on geological models dating back to that period in Earth’s history, because the types of algae that this group lived under in those oceans 600 million years ago were types that needed sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into energy through the process of photosynthesis, otherwise It was extinct, and accordingly it lived at the bottom of the open seas not covered with ice.

This is consistent with the results of a previous study Participated in the US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He also pointed out that in 2015, the Earth may not have been entirely an ice globe, but instead had areas of icy water in the middle.

Will Snowball make a comeback?

Until now, scientists believe that the “snowball” wave hit the Earth not only once, but two or three times, and there is nothing to prevent this phenomenon from happening again, especially as it relates to disturbances in the orbit and inclination. A planet that occurs up to now.

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But beyond that Researchers think at least This will not happen for the next several tens of thousands of years.

If the Earth is destined to one day enter a snowball phase, it will cause life to drastically decline on it, as widespread extinctions will occur and very few life forms will be able to adapt to these changes.

For humans, advanced technologies may help protect them at that time, but if it happens now, this thing will lead to the extinction of the human race or at least reduce our numbers to a very small proportion.

Nadia Barnett
Nadia Barnett
"Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator."

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