BBC: 'Snowball Earth' could have been a slushball

UC geologist says mid-latitude seas might have remained ice-free

BBC News highlighted research by a University of Cincinnati geologist who examined an ice age 635 million years ago that many scientists believed froze the planet solid from pole to pole.

But a new study published in the journal Nature Communications by an international team of scientists said evidence suggests some shallow seas in the mid-latitudes remained ice free, possibly allowing life to persist during this prolonged period of global glaciation.

UC College of Arts and Sciences geosciences Professor Thomas Algeo worked with researchers from the China University of Geosciences to use isotopic analysis to understand what life on Earth was like hundreds of millions of years before dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

“We called this ice age ‘Snowball Earth,'” Algeo said. “We used to believe that Earth was completely frozen during this long ice age. But it could be ‘Slushball Earth.’”

Read the BBC News story.

Featured illustration at top: University of Cincinnati researchers found evidence that a prolonged ice age 635 million years did not freeze the planet solid from pole to pole as previously believed. Graphic/Huyue Song

UC Geosciences Professor Thomas Algeo contributed to a new study of life on Earth during the Marinoan Ice Age more than 635 million years ago.

UC College of Arts and Sciences Professor Thomas Algeo studied life on Earth during a prolonged ice age 635 million years ago. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

More UC Geosciences in the news

Related Stories


Regional media: UC expert talks about abandoned wells

September 15, 2022

UC College of Arts and Sciences associate professor Amy Townsend-Small talks to the WFMP program Sustainability Now! and WOSU's the Ohio Statehouse about Kentucky's leaking oil and gas wells and a new federal initiative to cap them.