From: Simon Fraser University
Published March 9, 2017 08:31 AM

New evidence that tropical ice caps existed in the Andes

Scientists have long suspected that ice caps formed repeatedly in the tropical Andes during the late Pliocene, but only evidence of a single glaciation was known until now.

A study by SFU earth scientists Nicholas Roberts and John Clague as well as René Barendregt from the University of Lethbridge reveals the first geologic evidence of recurrent ice caps in the tropical Andes over 2.7 million years ago—including during Earth’s last long globally warm period.

Average global temperatures were typically 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than today during the middle part of the late Pliocene Epoch, known as the mid-Piacenzian warm period, long before evidence suggests large ice caps first appeared in North America. Confirmation of tropical glaciers from this time period plays a pivotal role in how scientists understand changes in Earth’s past climate and will assist in forecasting near-future climate change.

 

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