It seems illogical to deny the sudden, catastrophic arrival of the snow, ice and water which destroyed these creatures; or the decisive evidence that climate at the time was far mildei within the Arctic Circle than it has been since. Those who entertain the theory that a gradual decrease in climatic temperature caused the ice ages and that glacial ice accumulated slowly from ordinary winter snows, have always soft-pedaled or completely ignored the refutation of their theory which the above evidence supplies. It seems petulent to dispute the evidence by claiming that the animals merely strayed from warmer climes in search of food, and fell to their deaths from cliffs or into crevasses. There have been far too many carcasses found in far too many places to support such claims.
Ice Caused Climatic Change
Let the reader dwell for a moment on what the foregoing facts clearly indicate. Entire, flesh-covered bodies of temperate-and subtropical-type animals have been frequently found within the Arctic Circle, frozen in glacial ice, with undigested grasses and hard-wood-tree leaves in their stomachs, their flesh preserved, with no sign of putrefaction, thousands of years after their death. Does this not decisively prove that the ice itself must have caused, and caused suddenly, the climatic change which occurred? Obviously the change could not have occurred before the ice appeared, for in that event warmth-loving animals and vegetation would not have been there. Does the evidence not definitely prove that at least Pleistocene glaciation did not eventuate because climate had grown gradually and slowly colder? Is it not obvious that the incredibly vast mass of ice which we know existed, ice hundreds or thousands of feet thick, distributed in both hemispheres and covering a combined area equal at least to one-third of all land now on this globe, was quite sufficient to affect drastically Earth’s climate?
It is perhaps natural for one thoughtlessly to assume that ice ages eventuated because climate grew colder, for it is cold that forms ice; but if he will but reflect upon implications of the foregoing evidence, and recall that low temperature reduces evaporation and precipitation, he can scarcely fail to conclude that the above evidence should definitely and for all time lay the ghost of that illogical and untenable assumption. Surely the evidence indicates irrefutably that an avalanche of ice or snow suddenly descended upon and buried in an icy tomb a world teeming with temperate species of animal and vegetable life, luxuriating up to that very moment in a mild, benign climate, even within the polar circles!
What reason other than abrupt, catastrophic falls of snow, ice and chilling rain can possibly be imagined to account for sudden, world-wide extermination of teeming faunal and floral life of land, sea and air? Granted that evidence furnished by frozen mammoths is restricted areally, yet there are signs of abrupt disappearance of life forms in many other regions on Earth. The evidences of sudden climatic changes are more numerous and far more definite than are the indications of a slow, gradual change. As has been suggested before, is it not possible that the concept of gradual deterioration of climate is championed because no other cause of glaciation has been conceived?
Summary of Conclusions
Let us now review our conclusions up to this point.
(1) Although it is certain that the ice sheets covered great areas in temperate and even subtropical zones, it cannot honesdy be thought that small annual increments of winter snowfall could survive summer heat in such regions.
(2) If Earth’s climate were refrigerated so drastically that increments of winter snow in temperate and subtropical zones would not melt during the following summers, evaporation of surface waters would be so drastically reduced that snowfall would be virtually eliminated. Hence enormous accumulations of snow and ice could not eventuate.
(3) Evidence is decisive that glaciation took place suddenly, without warning. Therefore, the moisture in the glaciers must necessarily have been aloft in toto at the time it fell.
(4) Because of frequent rains and snows, water vapor could not remain aloft until the required amount had accumulated.
(5) Had the total required amount of vapor been driven aloft by solar or terrestrial heat so rapidly and so far that rain and snowfall could not have prevented the required accumulation, the terrific heat would have prevented accumulation of the ice.
The foregoing points force the conclusion that the tremendous quantities of water involved must have been assembled in space so far above Earth as to have been free from the influence of fluctuations in atmospheric temperatures and currents which cause rain and snowfall; also that the water could not have been driven to such heights by any agency which could have been in existence under terrestrial conditions which we know were characteristic of the periods just preceding the various ice ages.
In the foregoing analysis of theories and evidence the writer has endeavored to avoid deductions which logic fails to support and statements which do not agree with facts. If anybody seeks to refute the conclusions, the writer hopes the attempt will not be motivated by dogmatism but will be because of proof that the conclusions are erroneous. It is hoped that no attempt will be made to discredit the conclusions only because they violate old, threadbare theories which have long since been decisively repudiated.
A Fresh Approach Necessary
Although it seems incredible, it is, nevertheless a fact that among thousands who have tried to solve glacial mysteries, only three basic concepts previously mentioned have been conceived, to wit: one, that refrigeration of climate was the cause; two, that ocean water was the source of moisture; and three, that the ice sheets accumulated slowly from surviving remnants of winter snows.
Persistent pursuit of these concepts for more than one hundred years has utterly failed to solve the mysteries. Surely, therefore, it should be evident at long last that the premises must be fundamentally false and that we will have to look elsewhere for the solution. However, because they are intimately associated with the true cause of ice ages, let us first investigate secrets which the oceans are keeping from us—secrets no less mystifying than the phenomenon of ice ages.
- Oceanic Mysteries