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Find Your Science at GSA
18 August 2008
GSA Release No. 08-42
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach

Studies of Dynamic Past Ice Age May Help Prepare Society for Future Changes

Boulder, CO, USA – This new Special Paper from the Geological Society of America brings together a wealth of recent work to understand the longest icehouse period in Phanerozoic Earth history, the late Paleozoic ice age. A better understanding of glaciation time frames and climate fluctuation rates during this ice age may help society prepare for a future Earth with rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, rising global temperatures, rising sea levels, and melting polar ice and glaciers.

“Society stands to gain significantly from improved understanding of the late Paleozoic ice age,” says lead editor Christopher Fielding of the University of Nebraska. The late Paleozoic ice age was a crucial epoch in Earth’s history, representing the last time prior to the Cenozoic icehouse that Earth experienced a protracted, long-lived cold climate regime, and the only time since the advent of land plants that Earth both entered and exited a long-lived icehouse state.

The 24 papers in this volume shed new light on glaciation and paleoclimate, looking at various Earth records—from direct stratigraphic records of the effects of glaciation to various indirect proxies for climate conditions—with a clarity never before possible. Results point toward a dynamic icehouse regime, comparable to the Cenozoic icehouse, and away from traditional interpretations of the late Paleozoic ice age as a single, protracted event that involved stable, long-lived ice centers. Fielding says he hopes that “the reader will be able to appreciate the extent to which studies of the late Paleozoic ice age have advanced in recent times, and where the remaining challenges to future research lie.”

The editors acknowledge the support of the U.S. National Science Foundation toward the realization of this volume.

Individual copies of the volume may be purchased through the Geological Society of America online store or by contacting GSA Sales and Service, .

Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting Jeanette Hammann, .

Resolving the Late Paleozoic Ice Age in Time and Space
Christopher R. Fielding, Tracy D. Frank, and John L. Isbell (editors)
Geological Society of America Special Paper 441
2008, 354 pages, US$90.00, GSA member price US$63.00
ISBN 978-0-8137-2441-6