Q:

What causes an ice age?

A:

Quick Answer

Although the exact cause of ice ages is not known, scientists speculate that they are caused by a combination of the distance of the Earth from the Sun, the position of the continents and solar output. The last ice age happened around 20,000 years ago.

  Know More

Full Answer

During an ice age, the whole planet is noticeably colder. Ice ages can last for million of years and help to shape continents. Today's climate is actually a warm period between periods of glaciation. The world's climate continues to change and land masses continue to move. This means that the Earth is in the middle of a major cooling period that started more than 3 million years ago.

Learn more about Geology
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What causes air movement in the atmosphere?

    A:

    The circulation of air in the atmosphere is caused by the rotation of the Earth and energy from the Sun as warm air rises and the colder air sinks. Large scale air movement in the atmosphere is called atmospheric circulation.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What causes the Coriolis effect?

    A:

    The Coriolis effect is caused by a combination of the inertia of moving air and the rotation of the Earth. Air tends to move from high pressure to low pressure in a straight line, but the rotation of the Earth means that, to an observer at one spot on its surface, the moving air appears to turn. This effect increases as the air moves faster.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a fine-grained igneous rock?

    A:

    A fine-grained igneous rock is a rock that is formed by melted magma cooling so quickly at the surface of the Earth that only tiny crystals form, most too small to be seen with the naked eye. Basalt is an example of such a rock.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Where do crystals grow?

    A:

    Mineral crystals form at the surface and deep within the Earth. They grow from vapors that contain plenty of mineral components. Many crystals form in volcanic locations where hot gases encounter cool temperatures.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore