What Started the Ice Age?

Ice ocean sunset

Genesis recounts a global, catastrophic event.

by Dr. Larry Vardiman

Transporting enough ice and snow to cover the continents is impossible under current climate conditions. The only viable scientific model would require a unique catastrophe—like the breakup of the earth’s crust during the flood—to energize this ice machine.

Geophysicists have a love-hate relationship with “the Ice Age” (the popular term for a series of ice ages that supposedly struck the earth every 100,000 years). On one hand, they believe they can prove that small fluctuations in the sun’s heating over millions of years coincide with the coming and going of ice ages. Yet they can’t figure out how such minor blips in solar heat could cause thick ice sheets to cover half the globe every 100,000 years.

They suggest that other factors must be at play. Perhaps minor changes in the distance and angle to the sun work like a pacemaker to regulate the ebb and flow of ice ages. But they can’t seem to identify a mechanism that could take such minor variations and amplify them enough to produce an Ice Age.

Perhaps their models don’t work because they don’t begin with the Bible.

A Catastrophic Global Flood

Genesis recounts a global, catastrophic event that would have dramatically changed earth’s geology, biology, and climate. Scripture says that “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11–12).

The Flood described in Scripture was so massive that the very crust of the earth broke apart. Our planet’s original supercontinent broke into several smaller landmasses. Those new continents apparently shifted about, mountains thrust upward, great cracks extended tens of thousands of miles, and hot magma spewed up through volcanoes and cracks into the oceans. For months, seawater covered the continents and then retreated from the land. These processes produced so much heat that the average ocean temperatures climbed to over 100oF (38oC), much warmer than today.

This warm ocean set in motion a series of events that would lead to an Ice Age.

Hot ocean water evaporated rapidly, forming intense storms that dropped heavy precipitation on the continents for hundreds of years after the Flood. As the water evaporated, however, the temperature of the ocean cooled. Eventually it reached the equilibrium we know today. But during the brief period when the oceans were hot, cold temperatures and heavy snowfall on the continents would eventually produce an Ice Age, beginning in polar regions and then rapidly extending over the continents and on the mountains.

Volcanic dust blocked out the sun and kept the continents cold, preserving the ice through the summers. Once the oceans cooled and the volcanoes became less active, however, the clouds thinned, allowing more sun to heat the earth and melt the ice sheets and glaciers. The ice sheets then melted back toward the poles, and glaciers retreated higher up the mountains.

The Ice Age caused by the Genesis Flood is not a weak, theoretical possibility, but a robust, verifiable event validated by biblical and scientific data.

There’s no need to postulate a feedback mechanism to amplify minor changes in the sun’s heating and angle, as old-earth assumptions require. The high-energy events during the Genesis Flood were more than sufficient to cause an Ice Age. One needs only to recognize that the Bible is a source of historical truth and that a global, catastrophic literal Flood covered the earth a few thousand years ago…

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image credit: v2osk