Mysteries of glaciation

Although many similar statements are found in current treatises, one more quotation should suffice to convince the reader that all theories of ice-age origin have been rejected. This final quotation is taken from Geology, Principles and Processes, 1955, by Emmons, Thiel, Stauffer and Allison, who say: “Many hypotheses have been offered to account for the climate which resulted in continental glaciation, but none is generally accepted.”

A Fresh Theory Overdue

Thus it is plain that all theories advanced in more than one hundred years have been adjudged unacceptable by the world’s most eminent scientists. For that reason the fresh theory which will be presented later herein, although it may be labelled rank heresy by persons too bigoted to entertain a new idea, should be welcomed and received with open minds by all who earnestly seek scientific progress.

The theory will disclose that conditions which made it possible for ice ages to occur have passed away forever and that another glacial episode cannot possibly occur if and because climate should grow colder or for any other reason. The theory will be based upon principles diametrically opposed to all which have been repudiated. It will be supported by logic, by physical laws of nature and by visible evidence which cannot be refuted. Its basic premises will instantly illuminate a host of hitherto obscure geological puzzles. There is scarcely a single phase of the mystery of glacial phenomena which the theory will fail to explain. It alone of all theories will disclose in combination both a source adequate and a force competent to supply the incredibly vast amount of water which was frozen in the continental ice sheets.

The theory will account for lack of periodicity in succession of glacial episodes. It will disclose why and how it was possible for mild climatic conditions, comparatively free from latitudinal variations, to extend almost from pole to pole. It will explain why, in spite of such mildness of climate, great ice sheets could nevertheless be formed even at low altitudes and low latitudes. It will account for erratic, regional distribution of the ice. It will show why it was possible for ice sheets to form contemporaneously in both hemispheres. It will account for the sudden arrival of the ice—so sudden that many species of teeming animal life over great areas of the globe were utterly destroyed. It will explain why glacial periods were of short duration. It will tell us why all such periods, with the exception of the last one, were quickly followed by warm climatic conditions, extending from pole to pole. The theory will be based not upon mere imagination but upon visible planetary evidence and accepted natural laws of motion and gravitation. But first let us analyze the basic concepts of old theories and expose defects which make them untenable.

Old Theories Embrace Three Assumptions

An analysis of all theories which have heretofore been advanced shows unmistakably that without exception every one is based upon the preconceived assumption that colder climate, per se, was the cause of ice ages. Actually, therefore, not one theory can be considered to be a quest for the cause of glacia-tion. The cause has just been assumed to be colder climate. The one and only aim of every theoiy has been to conjure up solar, astronomical or terrestrial differences from present conditions which would cause reduced climatic temperature. Page after page of any book devoted to glacial epochs contain statements and allusions which plainly show that the author is not seeking the cause of ice ages—he is obsessed with the preconceived conviction that the cause was colder climate and is seeking only to discover what could have caused the colder climate.

This concept has persisted since 1837, when Agassiz first -.1 inwcd that the world has experienced glacial episodes. It still persists. Every bit of literature on the subject, both old and new, ri colored and dominated by that presumption. Even in the latest .scientific literature we read that should climate turn colder by 11 few degrees another ice age would result. In Geology (1952), von Engeln and Caster make the statement that “a lowering of I ho average annual temperature of the Earth by 10 to 15 degrees F. would suffice to initiate another glacial epoch.” I’lmmons, Thiel, Stauffer and Allison, in describing current temperature conditions in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire say: “A drop of only a few degrees in the average annual temperature . . . might restore continental glaciation over a vast area.” V. Ben Meen, writing about Chubb Crater in the National Geographic of January, 1952, says: “. . . any prolonged drop in temperatures would bring back the Ice Age.” Similar statements by many others could be quoted.

Surface Water Assumed as Source

A second assumption which has been universally, invariably and persistently followed is that the moisture in glacial ice came from evaporation of Earth’s surface waters. No other source has been suggested. Apparently none has been imagined. As we shall see later, the concept cannot be logically sustained.

A third notion, which naturally flows from the first two, and which also colors, permeates and dominates all literature on the subject, is that ice sheets developed slowly, from left-over remnants of ordinary winter snowfalls. One writer (R. A. Daly in The Changing World of the Ice Ages) states that “the ice caps grew in bulk for tens of millenia.” Others speak of the “gradual growth” of the ice sheets; of ice sheets “gradually encroaching” over areas, “advancing,” “creeping outwardly from centers”; of many separate mountain-valley glaciers spreading sidewise until they “coalesced” into vast continental ice sheets, etc.

Cold Reduces Evaporation

Taking up first the concept of colder climate as the cause, let us inquire where the ice in any ice age came from. Nobody has ever been able to imagine a source other than the sky above. Nobody can doubt that the moisture which formed the ice could have come only from aloft, either as rain, snow or ice, from aqueous vapor, frozen or otherwise, which had been put up there by some agency. That such must have been the case is self-evident and indisputable. As stated before, it is the unanimous belief of all theorists that this water came from evaporation of ocean and other Earth-surface water.