Snowball Earth

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by ryan138
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Earth Sciences

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Snowball Earth

Formation

There is lots of evidence that a snowball earth occurred. One of the most important pieces is that there were dropstones found in Australia. Drop stones are stones that aren't indigenous to an area and are deposited. These stones weren't from Australia, therefore a force had to have carried them there and deposit them. Research suggests that the force was a glacier. These glacial deposits were found on about every continent, making it clear that the earth was once covered in ice at one point. The deposited found in all the continents were dated back to around the same times in earth's past.

Snowball Earth

Overview

Evidence

The formation of the snowball earth is caused by biology. There was no oxygen in the atmosphere at the time, and that's how bacteria liked it. Then a bacteria called Cyanobacteria evolved. This bacteria created oxygen, which is was basically a pollutant at the time. This excretion of oxygen into the atmosphere upset the greenhouse gases such as methane. This caused the earth to retain little heat. Also since the earth was got more and more white, it was losing its ability to absorb heat. These two things caused the earth to freeze

Melting

There was a very slow process of melting the ice that covered the earth millions of years ago. The melting process of the snowball earth came form volcanos. Even though the earth was covered with feet of ice, volcanos still erupted. What caused the snow and ice to melt is that the volcanos, when erupted, released carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide acted as a greenhouse gas. Because of the greenhouse gas the atmosphere warmed. Therefore causing the ice on earth to slowly melt.

Snowball Earth is the theory that the earth was once completely frozen at one point. The earth was covered in ice from pole to pole making it look like a giant snowball. Research suggests that the earth was covered in ice three times! Geologist Sir Douglas Mawson was the founder of this hypothesis and said that the snowball earth happened around 650, 750, and 580 million years ago. Caused by solar radiation, the average temperature of the earth covered in ice you be about -70 degrees C. This temperature is similar to what the surface temperature would be in mars!

REFERENCESsnowballearth.orghttp://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_Earthhttp://youtu.be/mX3pHD7NH58http://youtu.be/YKuoPBbh58Yhttp://youtu.be/cU23qH6O5cEhttp://www.astrobio.net/news-exclusive/improving-understanding-of-snowball-earth/

Conditions

The conditions on the snowball earth were very harsh, making it tough for animals to survive. The temperatures went below -50 decrees celcius, and the earth was reflecting more heat into the atmosphere than it was absorbing. Scientists in Switzerland met for a week to try and figure out if the earth was a "slush ball" or a "snowball". The scientists concluded that there was frozen oceans and water on the the snowballs earth. This reasoning is because without water, there would be mass extinction, which didn't show up on any fossil records. Computer programs now can simulate what the snowball earth was like. The first models dealt with the lower atmosphere, the newer versions deal with the ocean, sea ice, land surfaces, the carbon cycle, aerosols, and all layers of the atmosphere. There is big advancements toward finding the conditions of the snowball earth but we will never know for sure.


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