Was there an Ice Age?
Antarctica today is almost completely covered in ice, and so is much of Greenland.
But did you know that great sheets of ice used to be in many other places, like South Africa, Italy, Tasmania (Australia) and even Ohio (USA)? Where did that ice come from, and where has it gone?
Ice, ice and more ice
Around 4,500 years ago, God judged the sin of mankind with a globe-covering watery catastrophe (Genesis 6–9). Many scientists who believe the Bible explain that this Flood provided just the right conditions for the great sheets of ice to form afterwards.
At the beginning of the Flood when the ‘fountains of the great deep’ broke open, hot water from inside the earth gushed into the oceans, eventually covering the land.
At the end of the Flood, the waters drained off the land into the oceans. But they were still warmer than they are today from all the volcanic activity caused by the ‘fountains’ breaking open and the land masses moving around.
Being warmer, the water in the oceans evaporated faster than it does today. Clouds of water vapour formed and moved over the land, like we see on the weather reports today. But these clouds were bigger, carrying more water, than today’s clouds, because there was more evaporation from the oceans. So, there was much more snow and rain in the years after the Flood.
By the way …
The Bible tells about one of the descendants of Noah (a man named Job), who possibly experienced the effects of the Ice Age. God asked Job, ‘Out of whose womb came the ice? And the frost of the heavens, who fathered it? The waters are hidden like stone, and the face of the deep is frozen’ (Job 38:29–30).
Also, the snow fell over a much larger area—in places that do not have snow today. That is because the volcanoes had blasted so much fine dust high into the air that the sun’s warmth was blocked from the earth. So places which are warm today were much cooler then.
With all the volcanic dust and clouds keeping the land cool, the snow on the ground didn’t melt during the summer. Instead, it turned to ice, and gradually built up thick ice sheets which eventually covered about one-third of the land on the earth!
After many years, the oceans cooled down. So with less evaporation, there was less snowfall. Also, the volcanoes weren’t as active and the dust cleared away, letting the sun’s warmth through to melt the snow and ice each summer. Eventually, the ‘Ice Age’ was over.
Altogether, the Ice Age lasted around 700 years—500 years to build up and 200 years to melt back.
How do we know where the great ice sheets were?
Some parts of the world are still covered with ice, especially on and near the snow-capped mountains. Often the ice moves slowly down the steep slopes. These glaciers, as they are called, grind up the rock they creep over, carve U-shaped valleys, leave groove marks behind, and also carry heaps of broken rock long distances.
That’s why we know that there must have once been much bigger ice sheets than we have today. We see the tell-tale U-shaped valleys, groove marks, and heaps of crushed rocks and boulders in many places around the world.
Although some people claim there have been many ‘ice ages’ over millions of years, the truth is that there really was only one—it was caused by the results of the Flood, and its effects can still be seen today!