Curtin University researchers have discovered that a global ice age more than 600 million years ago dramatically changed the planet's face, leaving a barren, flooded landscape and clear oceans.
The study published in Terra Nova investigated how distinct carbonate sedimentary rocks formed over millions of years after the snowball earth.
The sedimentary rocks resemble the limestone of tropical oceans formed today in oceans from which sand and mud from the country are starved.
Chief Author Ph.D. Candidate Adam Nordsvan of the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University said the new research had challenged earlier proposals that the formation of the distinctive rocks took place over a much shorter period of time.
that these striking carbonate rocks were deposited in less than 1
" There is already evidence that the formation of these rocks took a long time, but no one could explain why this could have happened. In the aftermath of Snowball Earth, the surface of the planet has been substantially completely refurbished, and it seems that the extensive Ice Age has eliminated all beaches, deserts, rivers, and floodplains, and has reset important Earth systems that will restore millions years. "
Milo Barham, also from Curtins School of Earth and The Planetary Sciences, said the findings could have important implications for the development of complex life.
"The melting of the ice sheet after the Earth caused a dramatic sea-level rise, eventually flooding the continents and resulted in a remarkable coastal retreat and coastal development of clearer seawater," Dr. Barham.
"Researchers have long been aware that the timing of snowballing and the development of a more complex life seem to coincide, but nobody has really thought about how the oceans are spewing out sediments that could possibly have contributed to the prosperity of ancient organisms in the oceans."
Study solves the mystery of how the first animals appeared on Earth
Adam R. Nordsvan et al. Large coastal retreat and sediment scarcity after Snowball Earth, Terra Nova (2019). DOI: 10.1111 / ter.12426
New research suggests global ice age has changed the face of the planet (2019, October 15)
retrieved on 15 October 2019
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