Notices
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Ice age terminology

  1. #1 Ice age terminology 
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    5,328
    I'm a bit confused by terms "glacial" "glaciation" etc. and find some writers use them sloppily. For example one writer says glacial to mean glaciers existing, while another means the growth of glaciers. I read the last ice age "ended" 12,000 years ago, or began to end, or hasn't ended yet.

    I think we are still in long ice age, with fluctuations like a warming that began maybe 12,000 years ago... which is just a blip in the greater... uh, glaciation?

    What are the correct terms? Is "ice age" still useful and when may I use it?

    I doubt the current condition is normal. Is anything? Are exposed continental shelves normal? Do some phases last longer, with relatively quick transitions? For example is glacial advance and retreat normal, so the ice front doesn't stabilize?


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    it all depends on context - if you use glacial to describe the properties of a glacier, or to refer to a major period of glaciation as opposed to interglacials, or to a period in geological time when large portions of the earth are glaciated, then that's 3 totally different concepts

    the last 2 of the 3 could informally be described as "ice age", and hence it's possible to say that we're still living in an ice age, even though we're nowhere near maximum glaciation


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,590
    Usage does seem to vary does this amount to sloppiness or just lack of a universal definition? I think the last glaciation or ice age ended 11,500 years ago, and we are now in the Holocene which is an interglacial period. Some authors (e.g. Chris Stringer, Homo Britannicus) find it necessary to state the definitions they are using in their books.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    5,328
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    I think the last glaciation or ice age ended 11,500 years ago, and we are now in the Holocene which is an interglacial period.
    Here glaciation (AKA ice age) means advance of ice, and interglacial means retreat of ice? In this case the recent glaciation (AKA ice age :? ) ended 11,500 years ago at the maximum extent...?

    Before this thread, I read "ice age" to mean "relatively icy".
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    that can be one of the meanings - i.e. a geological period when both poles are iced over, in which case even interglacials are part of the glacial era

    the other meaning, the one used by Bunbury, is to contrast extensive glaciation versus less extensive glaciation, in which case we're not living in a glacial era, but bound to re-enter one in the geological near-future
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •