Late Cenozoic Ice Age

This article is about the history of Earth's polar ice caps over the last 33.9 million years. For the glacial period lasting from 115,000 to 11,700 years ago, see Last Glacial Period. Ice age of the last 34 million years, in particular in Antarctica

The Late Cenozoic Ice Age, or Antarctic Glaciation began 33.9 million years ago at the Eocene-Oligocene Boundary and is ongoing. It is Earth's current ice age or icehouse period. Its beginning is marked by the formation of the Antarctic ice sheets. The Late Cenozoic Ice Age gets its name due to the fact that it covers roughly the last half of Cenozoic era so far.

Six million years after the start of the Late Cenozoic Ice Age, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet had formed, and 14 million years ago it had reached its current extent. It has persisted to the current time.

In the last three million years, glaciations have spread to the northern hemisphere. It commenced with Greenland becoming increasingly covered by an ice sheet in late Pliocene (2.9-2.58 Ma ago) During the Pleistocene Epoch (starting 2.58 Ma ago), the Quaternary glaciation developed with decreasing mean temperatures and increasing amplitudes between glacials and interglacials. During the glacial periods of the Pleistocene, large areas of northern North America and northern Eurasia have been covered by ice sheets.


History of discovery and naming

German naturalist Karl Friedrich Schimper coined the term Eiszeit, meaning ice age, in 1837. For a long time, the term referred only to glacial periods. Over time, this developed into the concept that they were all part of a much longer ice age.

The concept that the earth is currently in an ice age that began around 30 million years ago can be dated back to at least 1966.

As a geologic time period, the Late Cenozoic Ice Age was used at least as early as 1973.

The climate before the polar ice caps more

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