The very rapid and nearly instantaneous end of so-called glacial periods is very likely caused by massive, short-lived pulses of super-heated seawater emitted from major ocean faults termed spreading centers (Figure 1).

 

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Figure 1: Major deep inner Earth reaching breaks in Earth’s outer crust (spreading centers) are shown as black lines surrounded by red and yellow shades. Shading indicates the age of the ocean floor lava flows that are expulsed from the spreading centers. Estimated maximum extent of glacial ice during glacial periods is shaded white and cross-hatched light blue (credit Estrada et. al. 2013, labeling and Ice Sheets by J. Kamis).

 
 

This bold claim is supported by reinterpretation and then integration of two research studies; Lamont Doherty University 2015and MIT 2019.

The Lamont Doherty research study concluded that well-known cyclical variations in Earth’s circumnavigation of the Sun, specifically eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession collectively known as Milankovitch Cycles, directly affect our climate by switching the climate status from warm interglacial periods to cool glacial periods.  Reinterpretation of certain portions of the Lamont Doherty research leads to the following explanation of exactly how Milankovitch Cycles act to switch Earth’s climate status back and forth between glacial and interglacial periods. 

During a Milankovitch Cycle, two of Earth’s major rock layers, the outer crust, and upper mantle layers, are placed in a state of greatly increased gravitational stress. Outer-crust rock-layer segments termed tectonic plates respond to this increased stress by actively moving laterally or apart at a much faster rate.

This increased movement acts to violently fracture and open many of earth's major tectonic plates, most especially ocean floor spreading-center faults which form the boundaries of many tectonic plates. Now fractured and open spreading center faults tap downward into deep Earth hot lava chambers.

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Figure 2: Illustration of seafloor spreading.

 

This process triggers major pulses of volcanism upward along the open faults and into the overlying ocean.  In addition to expulsing hot lava into the ocean floors, these volcanic pulses also emit massive amounts of super-heated and chemically charged (CO2 and methane) fluid into oceans and atmosphere.  The effect of these geologically induced volcanic pulses is to rapidly and almost instantaneously end so-called glacial periods.

This hypothesis is greatly strengthened by the conclusions of the April 2019 MIT study which demonstrated that the abrupt and nearly instantaneous end of so-called glacial periods is caused by geological forces, specifically the cyclical movement of tectonic plates.  Not specifically stated in their conclusions, but obvious, is that attributing the end so-called glacial periods to atmospheric or solar forces is no longer correct!

Next, let’s look at historical atmospheric temperatures and CO2 concentrations during the last 400,000 years, which represents the last four so-called glacial and interglacial periods (Figure 3).

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Figure 3: Historical atmospheric temperatures and CO2 concentrations.

 

The Figure 3 graph demonstrates the following:

  • So-called glacial periods (blue hatched) end nearly instantaneously.

  •  Duration of so-called interglacial periods (red shading) is 2-5,000 years.

  •   The end of so-called glacial periods occurs on a very regular basis, approximately every 100,000 years. It is important to note that the most intense Milankovitch Cycles occur every 100,000 years in time association with the end of so-called glacial periods

  •   So-called interglacial periods do not maintain constant, uniform atmospheric temperatures or CO2 concentrations. Rather, temperatures progressively cool through time and CO2 concentration progressively increase through time.

  •  The atmospheric temperatures and CO2 concentrations lines during the last two so-called glacial and interglacial periods appear more jagged. This is related to existence of greater amounts of data from more modern events. Detailed data on older events is not as abundant.  This gives the false impression, especially during the latest so-called interglacial period that temperatures and CO2 concentrations are more variable and intense.  They are not.

  • So why in this article are the terms glacial and interglacial periods preceded by the phrase “so-called”? 

The answer is that reinterpretation and then integration of the MIT Study, the Lamont Doherty Study, and other important data strongly indicates that there are no such things as glacial periods or interglacial periods.

Instead there are only a cyclically occurring geologically induced volcanic pulses that act to instantaneously interrupt and degrade Earth’s natural and normal climate status. After these events earth immediately attempts recover to its normal climate status.  Technically this recovery is not a separate "period" that is imitated by any type of force, rather a time when earth essentially acts to heal itself.  This process involves the complex interaction between many different oceanic, atmospheric, and land regions, each affecting the other in a back and forth fashion.

 It is important to note during portions of the recovery process the magnitude and speed of certain oceanic, atmospheric, and land parameters alter their relation to one another.

For example, at certain times in the recovery process atmospheric temperatures are not aligned with expected corresponding atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  This gives the impression CO2 concentrations “lag” corresponding temperatures.  Not all, it’s just Earth adjusting/recovering in a complex fashion.

Eventually, Earth achieves a more or less stabilized / normal climate status which during the last 400,000 years can best be characterized as cool temperatures and extensive ice sheet coverage.

For many years now accepted scientific theory has stated that there are distinct and separate Glacial and Interglacial Periods that together make up one Ice Age.  Solar and atmospheric forces are often cited as the root cause of these climate shifts. 

Reinterpretation and then integration of data and conclusions from the two research studies referenced in this that this  no longer a correct theory.  Stated in another way, there are no such things as glacial periods, interglacial periods, or Ice Ages. 

Instead, just a major geological event and followed by recovery to normal climate status which is cool temperatures and extensive ice sheet coverage.