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Student Interdisciplinary Seminar: Bost
November 2, 2015 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
Molly Bost will present her research on “Snowball Earth”.
Snowball Earth, a term coined by Joseph Kirschvink in 1992, theorizes that the surface of the Earth was covered in ice from pole to pole multiple times throughout geologic history. Research and speculation on this topic has persisted since the early 1900s beginning with Sir Douglas Mawson during his journey in Antarctica. The theory of Snowball Earth is surrounded by controversy and contention between scientists of all disciplines making for an exciting boxing match of publications over the last 60 years. It is estimated that Snowball Earth episodes occurred during the Proterozoic eon, between 2200 and 580 million years ago. Evidence supporting this hypothesis involved the deposition of massive carbonate sequences, negative excursions in δ13C values of those carbonate deposits, and the precipitation of banded iron formations found on at least four continents. The story of Snowball Earth and the debate regarding not only its occurrence, but also when and how it may have happened demands more scientific research across multiple disciplines. Throughout this talk I will provide some of the evidence supporting this theory while explaining the initiation mechanisms, what climate was like during glaciation, and how Earth escaped the icehouse world. I will then try to answer the question – Could a snowball Earth event happen again?