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Geologic evidence for an icehouse Earth before the Sturtian global glaciation

Author(s): MacLennan, Scott A; Eddy, Michael P; Merschat, Arthur J; Mehra, Akshay K; Crockford, Peter W; et al

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Abstract: Snowball Earth episodes, times when the planet was covered in ice, represent the most extreme climate events in Earth’s history. Yet, the mechanisms that drive their initiation remain poorly constrained. Current climate models require a cool Earth to enter a Snowball state. However, existing geologic evidence suggests that Earth had a stable, warm, and ice-free climate before the Neoproterozoic Sturtian global glaciation [ca. 717 million years (Ma) ago]. Here, we present eruption ages for three felsic volcanic units interbedded with glaciolacustrine sedimentary rocks from southwest Virginia, USA, that demonstrate that glacially influenced sedimentation occurred at tropical latitudes ca. 751 Ma ago. Our findings are the first geologic evidence of a cool climate teetering on the edge of global glaciation several million years before the Sturtian Snowball Earth.
Publication Date: 10-Jun-2020
Citation: MacLennan, Scott A., Michael P. Eddy, Arthur J. Merschat, Akshay K. Mehra, Peter W. Crockford, Adam C. Maloof, C. Scott Southworth, and Blair Schoene. "Geologic evidence for an icehouse Earth before the Sturtian global glaciation." Science Advances 6, no. 24 (2020): eaay6647. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aay6647.
DOI: doi:10.1126/sciadv.aay6647
EISSN: 2375-2548
Pages: eaay6647 - ?
Language: eng
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Science Advances
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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