Latest Snowball Earth Stories

2009-02-04 17:29:32

Scientists announced on Wednesday the discovery of the earliest evidence of animal life to date. Chemical traces found in 635-million-year-old rocks in Oman provide key evidence to support Darwin's theory that simple organisms existed before the evolution of more complex creatures, researchers said in the Feb. 5 issue of the journal Nature. "Basically we have found a thread of that evidence that he predicted should be there," Roger Summons, a geobiologist at the Massachusetts Institute of...

2008-05-28 19:50:00

Parallel to catastrophic event of 635 million years ago An abrupt release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, from ice sheets that extended to Earth's low latitudes some 635 million years ago caused a dramatic shift in climate, scientists funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) report in this week's issue of the journal Nature. The shift triggered events that resulted in global warming and an ending of the last "snowball" ice age. The researchers believe that the methane was...

2006-11-30 11:03:53

Two and a half billion years ago, when our evolutionary ancestors were little more than a twinkle in a bacterium's plasma membrane, the process known as photosynthesis suddenly gained the ability to release molecular oxygen into Earth's atmosphere, causing one of the largest environmental changes in the history of our planet. The organisms assumed responsible were the cyanobacteria, which are known to have evolved the ability to turn water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight into oxygen and sugar,...

2006-06-07 08:05:00

It has been 2.3 billion years since Earth's atmosphere became infused with enough oxygen to support life as we know it. About the same time, the planet became encased in ice that some scientists speculate was more than a half-mile deep. That raises questions about whether complex life could have existed before "Snowball Earth" and survived, or if it first evolved when the snowball began to melt. New research shows organisms called eukaryotes - organisms of one or more complex cells that...

2005-10-11 14:25:00

Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Durham University (UK) have discovered that a million years ago, global climate changes occurred due to changes in tropical circulation in the Pacific similar to those caused by El Niño today. Changes in atmospheric circulation caused variations in heat fluxes and moisture transport, triggering a large expansion of the polar ice sheets and a reorganisation of the Earth's climate. The discovery,...

2005-09-29 19:30:00

A study that applied innovative techniques to previously unexamined rock formations has turned up strong evidence on the "Slushball Earth" side of a decades-long scientific argument. The study appears in the Sept. 29 Science Express. The lead author is Alison Olcott, a Ph.D. student of earth sciences in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Geologists agree that prehistoric Earth was locked in a deep freeze during Precambrian times, about 750 to 600 million years ago. They disagree...

2005-08-09 05:20:00

Astrobiology Magazine -- For several years geologists have been gathering evidence indicating that Earth has gone into a deep freeze on several occasions, with ice covering even the equator and with potentially devastating consequences for life. The theory, known as "Snowball Earth," has been lacking a good explanation for what triggered the global glaciations. Now, the California Institute of Technology research group that originated the Snowball Earth theory has proposed that the culprit...

2005-06-03 19:30:21

Boulder, Colo. - The June issue of GEOLOGY covers a wide variety of potentially newsworthy subjects. Topics include: discovery of 21 Martian river channels and estimates of their discharge and runoff production; evidence for olivine-rich bedrock on Mars; regional dynamics of global climate change; a challenge to the mantle plume hypothesis; constraints on late Neoproterozoic glaciations; new modeling of pyroclastic currents and possibilities for human survival in 79 A.D. Pompeii; the...

Latest Snowball Earth Reference Libraries

Geologic Clock With Events And Periods
2012-11-18 19:10:56

The Neoproterozoic is the third of three subdivisions of the Proterozoic Eon (occurring from 1 billion years ago to 542 million years ago). This terminal era of the Proterozoic is itself divided into three sub-periods called the Tonian, Cryogenian, and Ediacaran Periods. The most severe glaciation known in the geologic record occurred during the Cryogenian Period, when ice sheets reached the equator and formed a possible “Snowball Earth.” And the earliest fossils of multi-cellular life...

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Word of the Day
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.