The Ice Age in Britain

What is an ice age?

An Ice Age is a geologic time in which the Earth’s climate witnesses a substantial fall in temperatures. This decrease often is followed by bigger ice fields in the polar regions. However even this simple definition does not completely explain what an Ice Age is. The term, although scientific, is a blanket phrase for different kinds of glacial periods.

The most exact use for “Ice Age” is the geologic period of time that encompasses millions of years. It is thought that Earth is in the midst of an Ice Age at this current moment. You might believe that it definitely doesn’t feel like one. That is because an Ice Age is a relative term. It simply means it is much cooler now than in former times in Earth’s geologic history. Shorter glacial periods such as the one most people are aware of also applies.

First discovery of Ice Age

The first examinations of the origins of the Ice Age began in 1724 with Pierre Martel. As Martel was holidaying in the Alps he met a villager who stated that the relatively out of place boulders in their region were carried down by ancient glaciers that stretched out much further than more recent ones. This lead to further discoveries as a scientist began to look for proof of ancient glaciers. As statistics have started to collate geologists began to form theories about the Ice Age and how it started.

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The Ice Age in Britain

The British Isles have not always enjoyed a mild climate. Over the most recent 2.6 million years it has undergone extremes both of cold ice ages and warmer interglacial periods in a time of geological history that we refer to as the Pleistocene.

What exactly is an ice age?

An ice age generally refers to a number of several cold periods that happen over a reasonably short period of time. Today, 10% of the earth is covered by ice but that number has reached 30% in the past.

One ice sheet reached as far south as where is now London. In places the ice was three miles thick.

Humans and ice ages

Interlinked with the changing ice sheets is the history of human evolution. Human beings initially arrived in Britain at least 780,000 years ago. They have recolonised after huge glaciations to leave a pattern of habitation which is closely related to the climate and environment.

These early people started to use items that they found lying around as tools. Gradually they learnt how to make their own implements such as Stone Age tools fashioned from flint.

A wide range of animals have lived in this country ranging from giant mammoth in the cooler eras to hyena and even rhinoceros in the interglacial periods.

It is quite common for remains of animals such as the sabre-toothed cat, woolly mammoth, wolf, hyena, elk, bison and bear to be found in caves around the country.

A wide variety of animals have lived in Britain ranging from giant mammoth in the cold periods to hyena and even rhinoceros in the interglacials.

It is quite usual for remains of animals like the sabre-toothed cat, bear, woolly mammoth, hyena, bison and elk to be found in caves across the country.

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