Were the Ice Ages really just True Polar Wandering Events?

This is one of those things that once you see, you can’t unsee.

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It was during my undergraduate or graduate work toward my degree in geology and geophysics that I first noticed that the majority of Northern Russia, Siberia and Northern Alaska were never fully glaciated during the Ice Age. In fact the areas where the last continental ice sheets persisted formed a nearly perfect ‘artic circle’ around a pole centered over Greenland.

The more I puzzled over this, the odder it seemed to me that the earth could be cold enough during the ice age for arctic ice to extend to 50 degrees south of the present Arctic Circle and into parts of Illinois and Germany, and yet parts of Alaska and Siberia which are within the present arctic circle were never covered by continental ice sheets or glaciers.

How could this be? For years I’ve searched for a believable answer, always finding the same unconvincing response thrown out. “It was an arctic desert, and thus was too cold to snow in those areas.” A pretty horrible response in my opinion considering the exact same “arctic desert” conditions exist in the center of Antarctica and yet there’s still upwards of 10,000 feet of ice there today. If there’s one thing Antarctica teaches us, its that in the long run continental glaciers have a lot less to do with annual snowfall totals, and a lot more to do with temperatures being low enough to limit melting. (1)

Scrutinizing the predominate explanation

Central Antarctica really is a frozen desert. The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, located in the middle of Antarctica typically records only about 2.4–3.1 in of snow (water equivalent) per year. Most of its snow accumulation there is often blown in from the coastal regions where snow fall can be as high as 15–25 inches a year. (Or it falls as frost-like ice crystals instead of snow) The continent as a whole averages only 6″ of snow a year, and yet still has managed to accumulate 1 to 3 miles over the last 14 million years. Compare that to Fairbanks in the center of Alaska which averages around 45 inches of snow a year but zero glacial accumulation — and you can see how its not large snowfall numbers that form continental glaciers but consistently cold summer temperatures low enough to facilitate less snow melting than gains.

As anyone whose spent much time in alpine environments knows. Its the night time temperatures that dictate when the snow and ice is about to begin its rapid summer melt. Glacial science is complex, but as a general rule, if you want to grow a glacier, all you need is snow and night time temperatures which are consistently BELOW freezing in the accumulation zone. Places like Prudhoe Bay or Fairbanks Alaska with summer night time temperatures of 40°F to 50°F are simply not cold enough to grow or maintain glaciers, despite their high snowfalls. On the other hand places like Casey or Esperanza Base in Antarctica, with summer night time temps of 20°F to 30°F, are.

So how is it then that places like Illinois, New York and North Germany with current summer night time temperatures up to 60-70°F, and latitudes of 40° (roughly 5,500 miles from the North Pole), were able to accumulate upwards of 7000 feet of glacial ice during the supposedly frigid Ice Age. And yet places like North Siberia or Northernmost Alaska, with current summer night time temps as low as 40°F and latitudes within the Arctic Circle (2,500 miles from the North Pole) were not? The current explanation holds less water than the frozen air that many blame it on.

As a great example, look at the annual snow accumulation portrayed from time-lapse satellite imagery of the Northern Hemisphere. The annual snow gains and losses follow latitude almost exactly. High latitude regions like Siberia, Northern Alaska and Arctic Canada are the first to gain snow, and the last to lose it each year.

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Current annual snow accumulation and melting occurs almost entirely according to latitude. Alaska, Siberia and Arctic Canada are the first to gain snow each year and the last to melt. This does not match at all with what we see of glacial accumulation during the Ice Age.

See the same yearly snow and ice accumulation with sea ice added, and note how it corresponds almost entirely to latitude. Only the Gulf Stream current, which brings warm water from the South Atlantic to the North Sea affects the general latitudinal rule of snow accumulation, making areas of northwest Europe warmer, a trend opposite of what we sea during the ice age. (2- add footnote talking about the gulf stream current couldn’t have been responsible for the seet given ice accumulation in central canada which is free from the effects of the Gulf Stream)

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Earth’s snow and ice cover accumulates almost exactly according to latitude. Regional variations caused by mountains and sea currents tend to be small, when compared to the overall trends.

Now let’s compare this to an animation of the glacial ice growth and retreat during the last ice age. Pleistocene snow and ice accumulation and melting followed an entirely different pattern than it currently does. In fact it is striking how obviously the ice sheets seem to point toward a geographic north pole in the region of Greenland.

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There’s a lot of misunderstanding out there on exactly where the great northern ice sheets were and were not during the ice age. This is mostly the result of poor illustrations based on imagination instead of science. Among experts the northern ice sheets and their terminal moraines have been well mapped. In fact proglacial lakes, which are lakes formed either by the damming action of a moraine during the retreat of a melting glacier, or by meltwater trapped against an ice sheet due to major isostatic depression of the crust around the ice are highly visible indicators showing the maximum extent of the northern continental glaciers.

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North American Proglacial Lakes show the extent of the Laurentian Ice Sheet during the Ice Age
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Eurasian Proglacial lakes show the extent of the Finoscandian ice sheet during the Ice Age

UNDER CONSTRUCTION FROM THIS POINT ON:

I’ll finish this article when I have time. For now the rest is just notes.
TO DO:

-talk about how this was a debate back in the 50’s and 60’s, especially with charles hapgood’s books (as well of velikovsky). But a believable mechanism for rapid pole shift was not conceived. Even though Einstein himself wrote the foreword to Hapgood’s book, and supported his theory that the weight of the ice itself destabilized the axis, the whole premise was too extreme, and smelled too much of biblical catastrophism for the scientific community to accept.

I believe I have a more rational explanation for axis destabilization, and plan to suggest it in a way that does not need such radical catastrophist consequences.

Explore this: Even in more ancient geologic record, paleomagnetic reconstructions show that at least the magnetic pole (and likely true north pole) is all over the place through time. Comparing magnetic trace readings from different continents and oceanic plates show paths and sudden swings which cannot be accounted for with plate techtonics. These paths suggest that not only are the plates moving and separating over time, but the magnetic north pole (and presumably the true north pole with it) is moving. If we are to assume that the magnetic pole has historically been within 10–13 deg of the true north pole, we

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If earth’s axis were to wobble, this is what it would look like?

Paleomagnetic Reconstructions

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Our current understanding of where pole is is based on several points of evidence….. POINT HERE NEEDS TO BE THAT RECONSTRUCTIONS ARE ONLY ACURATE TO 20 DEGREES, GIVES A GREAT BALLPARK FIGURE BUT HORRIBLE EXACT LOCATION. Be sure to reference this page, that shows how off CURRENT measurements are. http://all-geo.org/chris_rowan/2014/01/paleomagnetism-lab-testing-the-gad-hypothesis/

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Causes

Some are cyclical, some are random. Make an illustration showing the core slightly off center to show how earth would now wobble, and then stabilize over time.

  1. Gravitational effects of sun and Jupiter on moon and equatorial bulge (same things that cause precession-go into detail on how this is likely ALSO what creates the earth’s and suns magnetic fields, and same forces cause sun to flip and probably cause earth’s to flip too) Note this important fact. The moon is NOT orbiting earth’s equatorial plane, its on the SUNS equatorial plane (2–5 deg off), so the combined tidal forces of the moon and sun pull earth’s core double and unevenly.
  2. Bolide/asteroid impacts. (this is a big one, partly random and partly cyclical because arms of galaxy hold more debris)
  3. Gravitational waves (also a big one, because it literally warps space time and compresses the earth longitudinally. can be both cyclical and random between those coming from center of galaxy and those caused by supernova)

-Call them TPW “excursions” caused by “destabilization events”. The evidence for glaciation in patagonia and Siberia is a huge problem. It shows that the pole must have gone from north of present to greenland and back! How is that possible? And why is antarctica’s glaciation so much older than the north hemisphere? See evidence for each area’s glaciation here http://www.science.earthjay.com/instruction/HSU/2015_fall/GEOL_553/literature_sources/ehlers_gibbard_2007_cenozoic_global_glaciation.pdf — — -regardless of the truth, its what you have to work with. So this idea solves it. THE CORE is more dense, it gets pulled by gravity more and destabilizes the earth. BUT the equitorial bulge resists the dif spin, causing mantle to differentially rotate (making the mag field by the way). but every 100,000 years or so the destabilization hits a tipping point and the SLOW tpw looses balance and the earth goes for a TPW trip. For the last 3 million years this has been TOWARD the “north atlantic gravity anomaly” (there also one north of australia likely playing a part). And asteroid hitting the moon might just knock its orbit eccentric enough to affect tidal forces on the mantle.

-11 year magnetic reversal of the sun tied to orbits of Jupiter, earth and (venus?) in new study https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-05/hd-tsf052719.php

Best article to cite. Lots of great references. Study it! https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X1630749X?fbclid=IwAR1Y-bgol8Sd1IzmsfcsFALQ_2xzY_dnrHXnR8CZAJTTEOuAN2V2TeqQiuI#br0170

-This page has some amazing gifs, illustrations, videos and ideas to use. especially the gif of an egg shaped spinning object righting itslef, and the evidence of why venus turned over. and some of the other gyroscope stuff. https://www.plutorules.com/page-41-tilt.html This similiar page talks of how ‘rain forest like in new zealand covered antartica at the same time https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-12378934

-this wikipedia article talks about how the ‘poles’ were dominated by ‘ deciduous conifers’. whaaat? Conifers like larch and cyprus that loose their leaves live in wet not-too-cold enviros like washington state. Yet more evidence that what they think was artic, was not artic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_forests_of_the_Cretaceous#Fossilized_forest

-Evidence against current magnetic polar paths . This dinosaur is found in Australia and Antartica in the early cretaceous. scientist think this was in the antarctic circle at the time based on paleomag. This is great proof the paleomag is wrong. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaellynasaura

-Younger dryas north hemisphere cooling (mainly europe) didn’t affect new zealand. Glaciers there were retreating with vigo https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2010/09/deep-freeze-didnt-affect-southern-hemisphere. but Radiocarbon dating of this time interval is precarious because of C14 plateaux and, for marine organisms, because of the varying reservoir effects as a consequence of changing ocean circulation (Björck, 2007; Cao et al., 2007). https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/younger-dryas (looks to me that they see the younger dryas is regional, so they are guessing the c14 dates must be off and coming up with this ‘reservoir effects’ idea where they compensate…

-evidence for comet impact at younger dryas, this is a great mechanism for what made the pole change direction at that time.. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/20/support-comet-impact-may-have-triggered-the-younger-dryas-period/

malankavitch cycle… one of three is ‘procession’ and might cause true polar wander because of gravitational forces of sun and Jupiter. (especially since they are binary system). The moon rotates obliquely so that affects things too. watch this and picture the sun torquing irregularities in the mantleand equatorial bulge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty9QSiVC2g0

rework malankavitch calcs to show it could NOT give needed cooling, then propose mantle redistribution combined with gravitational pull from sun/Jupiter wobble (chandler wobble) to create true polar wandering as mechanism for both ice ages and plate movement.

younger dryas (north america warming, Bonneville shrinking while Europe cooling lgm)

Early Evolution of the Solar System

Consult your excel spreadsheet and add numbers: Note that earth’s current density is ~5.45g/cm, but if it were equal to the density of jupiter or Ganymede, (Jupiter’s nearly earth sized subterranean ice moon), our diameter would be about 2x what it is now (20,489km). However, if earth was somehow ejected from a high pressure environment such as Jupiter or the Sun (where the density is 150 g/cm), causing our early density to be in the neighborhood of 31 g/cm, our diameter would be about half of its present. (this could also explain the formation of the moon and the 5th planet issues). Then earth would begin to adapt to its new low pressure environment by outgassing like crazy, and changing size, and having a crust that moves over its ice laden asthenosphere.. PROBLEM with this model, is WHY does it seem that seafloors all started to be formed in the mesozoic? Also what was it made out of that was so dense? Answer might be metallic hydrogen. Jupiter and saturn have cores made of it, and if earth was formed near the CENTER of jupiter as jupiter was forming too, but started moving out very early on, perhaps even being like jupiter’s red eye and being just outside jupiter’s atmosphere until about 1 billion years ago, then it was ‘ejected’ by the 1bya event, and immediately began cooling, but at 250mya hit a mass transition where most of that hydrogen started transforming from a compact dense solid into expanding less dense gas, causing earth to expand. Note also, tha quartz SiO2 expands as it cools, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_thermal_expansion

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