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Volcanic triggering of glaciation


AN instantaneous glaciation model for the formation of the large Pleistocene ice sheets has been proposed by Flohn1 and by Ives et al2. It depends on the sudden buildup of a permanent snow cover over sub-Arctic upland plateaux including Baffin Island, Ungava, Labrador and Keewatin, Melville Peninsula, and the Finnmark Plateau and upland Sweden. The crucial event in this sudden snow buildup is the survival of snow over a large area for a single summer which then results in a series of feedback reactions leading to the establishment of permanent snowfields and, subsequently, icefields. I suggest here that such a survival could have resulted from one or several closely spaced massive volcanic ash eruptions.

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BRAY, J. Volcanic triggering of glaciation. Nature 260, 414–415 (1976).

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