Massive tectonic collisions in the tropics may have caused Earth’s last three great ice ages.Before each of these ice ages, new research finds, collisions between continents and island arcs built long chains of mountains in the tropical latitudes. These mountains may have set the stage for a cooling climate: As they eroded into the seas, they would have altered the chemistry of the ocean so that it could have absorbed more carbon from the atmosphere. Because atmospheric carbon traps heat, less carbon in the skies translates to colder temperatures, allowing ice sheets and glaciers to form.”This could provide a simple tectonic process that explains how Earth goes in and out of glacial periods,” said study co-author Oliver Jagoutz, a professor of geology at the Massachusetts

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