Frozen Terror: When Earth Froze and Became a Snowball - Purwana Tekno, Software Engineer
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Sabtu, 24 Februari 2024

Frozen Terror: When Earth Froze and Became a Snowball

Earth, a planet of diverse landscapes and climates, has undergone drastic transformations throughout its history. Among these transformations lies a chilling chapter where the world was enveloped in ice and snow, resembling a colossal snowball suspended in space. Recent research conducted by a team of scientists from Australia sheds light on this ancient phenomenon, unraveling the mysteries behind Earth's icy past and the cataclysmic events that led to its deep freeze.

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The Frozen Epoch:

Imagine Earth shrouded in ice, its once vibrant landscapes subdued under a blanket of frost. Approximately 700 million years ago, such a scenario unfolded as Earth experienced a profound glaciation event. Dr. Adriana Dutkiewicz, a Future Fellow of the Australian Research Council and a professor at the University of Sydney, describes this era as a period when the planet was veiled in ice from pole to equator, with temperatures plummeting drastically.

Unraveling the Mystery:

The question of what triggered this global deep freeze remains a subject of intrigue. Dr. Dutkiewicz, leading the research team, shares significant findings gleaned during expeditions to the Flinders Range in South Australia. Utilizing tectonic plate models depicting the configuration of continents and ocean basins around 700 million years ago, the team identified the onset of the formidable ice age. Known as the Sturtian glaciation, this epoch endured from 717 to 660 million years ago.

The Culprit:

What might have precipitated this icy epoch? Scientists attribute it to the substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes in Canada, resulting in a protracted period of planetary icing. At that time, Earth was devoid of multicellular organisms or terrestrial vegetation, with atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations predominantly dictated by volcanic CO2 emissions and silicate weathering processes, which absorbed CO2.

Lessons for the Present:

Could Earth freeze again in the future? Before human intervention, the planet's climate was predominantly influenced by geological and meteorological factors. However, contemporary activities, such as coal combustion, exacerbate natural environmental changes. Dr. Dutkiewicz emphasizes the importance of vigilance in preserving our planet, emphasizing that while geological climate shifts occur gradually, proactive measures are imperative in safeguarding Earth's future.

As we contemplate Earth's frozen past, we confront the sobering reality of our planet's vulnerability to environmental upheavals. The saga of Earth's snowball phase serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance that sustains life on our planet. As stewards of Earth's legacy, it is incumbent upon us to tread lightly and enact measures to mitigate the adverse effects of human-induced climate change. Through collective action and environmental stewardship, we can endeavor to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come, lest Earth's icy past become a harbinger of its frigid fate.

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