Tropical glaciers formed while earth was giant snowball

rchers have estimated that it required a buildup of carbon dioxide by volcanic outgassing to 300 times today's levels to bring Earth out of snowball Earth, which accounts for the millions of years necessary to reverse the process.

Some scientists question whether life could have survived a full snowball-Earth episode, and therefore suggest that the Earth never passed beyond the critical point with sea ice down to about 30 degrees latitude. However, the Penn State results imply that full snowball Earth must have occurred in order to produce the observed tropical glacial deposits at sea level. Others have suggested that oceanic life could have survived full snowball episodes below gaps in the ice around volcanic island, or in tropical oceans where sunlight may have limited sea ice thickness to only a few meters.


Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
Penn State

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