Ice Sheets

Bottom-up effects on Northern glaciation

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Science  12 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6215, pp. 1339-1340
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6215.1339-f

How much did the solid Earth contribute to the development of Northern Hemispheric glaciation around 3 million years ago? Much attention has been paid to the roles of solar insolation, distal orogeny, and the ocean, and now Steinberger et al. suggest that regional geodynamic processes also had a profound influence on the growth of major ice sheets. They argue that the mantle plume beneath Iceland thinned the lithosphere and caused regional uplift in Greenland, while Greenland was drifting northward due to plate tectonics and true polar wander. These factors could help explain the reappearance of major Northern Hemispheric ice sheets after an absence of more than 500 million years.

Terra Nova 10.1111/ter.12133 (2014)

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