It’s hard to imagine the Earth covered in ice, especially with all the climate issues facing us right now. However, 20,000 years ago, there was snow and glaciers as far as the eye could see. The planet was in the midst of an ice age, and it seems there are a lot of mind-blowing facts about this period in the Earth’s history.
There were periods of freezing and thawing
During the Ice Age, the planet didn’t simply become a block of ice for thousands of years and then eventually melt. Instead, it experienced a period of freezing and thawing, with glaciers advancing toward the equator then receding toward the poles. This didn’t happen overnight either. The process spanned tens of thousands of years, which is why this period is known as the Ice Age, and not just the year the Earth got cold.
Glaciers got rid of earthworms
Dig up a patch of US soil, and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter an earthworm. It’s a significant contrast to all those years ago when glaciers essentially wiped them out. We suppose it makes sense because a squishy insect like an earthworm would undoubtedly be crushed under the weight of a heavy glacier. It was only when English colonists later came to the US that these creatures were reintroduced to the nation’s soil.
Plenty of modern-day animals survived the Ice Age
Modern humans might struggle to survive in something like an ice age, given the last one had an average temperature of around 46 degrees Fahrenheit. However, while we might not stand the best chance, the same can’t be said for other animals. Obviously, the likes of penguins and polar bears are accustomed to cold weather already. Plenty of animals you wouldn’t typically associate with the poles can handle it, too, though. Shrews, lemmings, and mice all survived the last ice age and are still with us today.
The planet’s tilt was responsible for the end of the Ice Age
If the last ice age hadn’t ended, life would be very different right now. What exactly caused the temperatures to increase and snow to become more of a rarity? As it turns out, the planet tilted in a way that ensured the northern hemisphere received more sunlight. This caused the ice to start melting and increase the sea level, with that water then absorbing more heat and lifting the planet’s temperature. Again, this didn’t happen overnight.
There’s evidence of the Ice Age everywhere
While there might not be ice everywhere anymore, you can still see evidence of the Ice Age all over. Bodies of water like Loch Ness and the Great Lakes are the result of holes created by glaciers then filled with melted ice. What’s more, if you ever see boulders that seem out of place, it’s likely that they were left behind by a moving glacier.
It’ll be thousands of years before anything like this happens again. That’s probably a good thing, given that most people likely don’t want to live in a world that’s always freezing cold.