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Surprising Science

Volcanic Ice Age

Volcanoes set the stage for the rise of the Appalachian Mountains and the ice age that followed, new research has found.

“Researchers here have discovered the pivotal role that volcanoes played in a deadly ice age 450 million years ago,” reports Science Daily. “Perhaps ironically, these volcanoes first caused global warming — by releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When they stopped erupting, Earth’s climate was thrown off balance, and the ice age began. Matthew Saltzman, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and his team had previously linked this same ice age to the rise of the Appalachian Mountains…Now the researchers have discovered the other half of the story: giant volcanoes that formed during the closing of the proto-Atlantic Ocean — known as the Iapetus Ocean — set the stage for the rise of the Appalachians and the ice age that followed.”


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