Research NewsPaleoclimatology

Second Clock Supports Orbital Pacing of the Ice Ages

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Science  02 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5313, pp. 680-681
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5313.680

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A new radioactive clock has settled a dispute that threatened the reigning theory of the ice ages, which holds that they are paced by the cyclical stretching and squeezing of Earth's orbit around the sun. An ice age chronology from ocean-floor sediment and ancient corals supported the theory, but minerals at a site called Devils Hole in Nevada yielded a record not consistent with orbital timing. As described on page 782, the new dating technique puts the orbital theory back on solid ground and implies that Devils Hole was recording only local climate.