Thongchai Thailand

The Geology of Interglacials

Posted on: July 3, 2019









bandicam 2019-07-03 14-06-05-514





  1. IMAGE#1 above is a video representation of the Last Glaciation beginning with the Eemian, going through the Last Glacial Period, and ending in the mid Holocene. This cycle is typical of the chaotic cycles of ice accumulation and ice dissipation discussed in a related post on this site [LINK] . The information presented below is taken from a lecture on a geological explanation of glaciation cycles by Geologist James Edward Kamis [LINK] . Image2 to Image5 are taken from the slides used in the Kamis lecture.
  2. IMAGE#2 is a two dimensional projection of the Planet Earth. In the color grey are seen the continents of Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia. Along the bottom of the image, in the hashed white area, is an indication of the ice sheet extent on the planet along a timeline measured in millions of years before the present. Above that and in red (with black lines) are the ocean floor plate boundaries. The color red is used here to indicate a high level of geological activity. These are very active sediments. The cooler colors are older sediments. Regions in cooler colors are older and less active sediments. Along the black lines through the center, the rock is very young with a high level of heat flow.
  3. Recent research from MIT shows that glaciation cycles are driven by plate collisions [LINK] . The MIT press release says that collisions of tectonic plates along the tropics cause glaciation because the exposed rocks absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and that therefore, without the CO2 to keep earth warm, it slides into glaciation; but here James Kamis offers a broader interpretation of the correlation between plate collisions and glaciation with the observation that the MIT finding confirms only that there is a relationship between plate tectonics and climate and thereby validates the Kamis Plate Climatology Theory (KPCT) [LINK] . That their interpretation of this finding is in terms of atmospheric phenomena is a different matter altogether and not a consideration in this analysis where a different interpretation is offered. The essential tenet of the KPCT theory is that geological forces have a strong influence on climate and climate related events and that therefore these phenomena cannot be understood purely in atmospheric terms. Glaciation is a climate related event.
  4. The research show that anomalies in the earth’s rotation around its axis and its revolution around the sun create periodic changes in the relationship between the earth and the sun. The traditional interpretation of these changes, in purely atmospheric terms is that they cause periods of warming and cooling because of varying amounts of the sun’s energy reaching the northern latitudes of the planet. The alternate interpretation of he same anomalies in KPCT is that these changes place stresses on plate movements and generate heat flow pulses from the plate boundaries and these in turn cause changes to the climate.
  5. The Lamont and Doherty 2005 paper confirms a cycle of large heat flow pulses from the plate boundaries with period of roughly 100,00 years give or take, and this period matches the that of glaciation cycles within their natural variance. If we combine the Lamont&Doherty results and the recent MIT findings we find a sound basis for developing a relationship between plate tectonics and glaciation cycles consistent with the KPCT proposition that plate tectonics is the dominant force in climate.
  6. IMAGE#3 is a chart of earth’s surface temperature from 400,000 years ago to 1950. The chart is inverted so that warm periods appear below the x-axis with cool periods above the x-axis. It is evident that the the normal state of the planet is the cool period but with periodic brief excursions into warmth, colored red on the chart. Secondly, it is noted that the transition from cool period to warmth a steep and sudden decline – almost instantaneously in the context of the time scale of the chart. It just so happens that we have a mechanism on our planet that can generate that kind of heat flow, and that mechanism is plate tectonics. Also noteworthy is that many of the warm periods are not really warming periods. There is a sharp and steep dive into the warmth and then almost immediately it begins its return to the cold.
  7. The cold periods are the earth’s natural state and the brief excursions into warmth are anomalies that are quickly corrected. The current warming period dives into its peak warming in the initial transition from cold and then it slowly begins its journey back to the cold. These transitions are not smooth however as can be seen in the sawtooth shape of the return to the cold where some periods of stalled warmth will be found. The current warming event also shows the sawtooth return to the cold with relatively brief alternating warming and cooling periods. These observations are made relative to the very long time cycle of the glaciation cycle compared with for example life spans of humans and their civilizations. The current warm event is not about 12,000 years old and the shape of the curve appears to indicate that it is about to end.
  8. CONCLUSION: From these data and from his study of plate tectonics and volcanism, Kamis concludes that the concept of glacial periods (often referred to as “ice ages”) is anomalous in the context of what we see in IMAGE#3. Rather than calling them ice ages or glacial periods, we should understand them as earth’s standard and equilibrium climate state that is from time to time interrupted by plate tectonic events that cause warming an deglaciation. It should be noted however, that this natural state of the planet is extremely volatile with countless dives toward deglaciation that don’t make it all the way into an interglacial state. These cycles are best understood as the brief warming interruptions of the earth’s normal glacial climate state which we tend to describe as glaciation.

3 Responses to "The Geology of Interglacials"

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  • chaamjamal: Maybe you're right about that but there are some asian countries that aspire to nukedom but are prevented from inadequate access.
  • Mark Ulmer: And the third is cost (resulting from regulatory compliance). Cost and disposal are not unique to nuclear (renewables have the same issues) and are, i
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