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Ice Age Floods cause mass extinctions?

  1. Jul 27, 2006 #1

    http://www.iceagefloodsinstitute.org/aboutfloods/puzzlesolved.html [Broken]


    Question and answer with geologist Dr. John Shaw


    These articles and many others disclose a little known catastophic chapter in the earth's history that appears to raise a range of questions about the cause of many geological features in certain areas to the sudden and wide spead mass extinctions that took place around the same time as these aleged floods.

    You can give your opinion, pro or con, with supporting reference material, in the space below. Thank you.
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  3. Jul 27, 2006 #2


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    Homework? You've got papers on the scablands, history of mainstream geological thoughts, and the "recent" synthesis of the available evidence for large, repetitive, localized flood events; how are you getting from local flooding to mass extinction?
  4. Jul 27, 2006 #3
    You're right to point that out. I am refering to the Mammoths and other northern mega-fauna:


  5. Jul 27, 2006 #4


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    Yes, if it looks like homework, the forum policy is that the question go into the "Homework Help" area, and that the poster demonstrate effort toward answering the question.

    Again, how do you propose to connect local flooding events to extinction events?
  6. Jul 28, 2006 #5
    Evidence shows that the on slaught of Ice Age floods was not so localized:


    Also see this article:


    And further evidence of a European ice age meltdown:


    This article has other examples of other areas as well.

    This type of study is relatively new and so not many sites have been thoroughly surveyed. My question is more about if anyone has further evidence of these floods around the world and if this type of catastrophic event could have contributed to the demise of mega fauna in north america, siberia and mongolia or related areas.

    Just asking for a little help here. Plus, its a fascinating study, don't you agree?!
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2006
  7. Jul 28, 2006 #6
    There might be an interconnection between all those "floods" and extinctions but it's probably a lot more complicated.

    The late Pleistocene megafauna extinction started around 14000 calendar years ago with horses in Alaska and woolly rhinos in Eurasia and it ended probably 4150 Calendar years ago with the last population of woolly mammoths on Wrangel island.

    The Alaskan horses decreased notably in size during their last few milleniums of existance and this is also true for most woolly mammoth populations. Furthermore, together with extinction of the horses was a strong population explosion from modern megafauna like elk and bison. There is also distinct evidence of biotope change from dry steppe to wood-lands. No signs of floods there as far I know.

    The bulk of the extinction appeared to have been around the end of the Younger Dryas between 11,500 and 10,500 years but the giant (irish) Elk survived until some 6000 years ago. There may be a case for the Americal mastodons as well having survived to a few milleniums ago.

    Not only Eurasia and North America but the extinction took also place in South America, mostly giant sloths, mastodon and Gomphotherium (four tusked elephants).

    Now it could be that many factors contributed to the extinctions, however if such contribution is dispensable, it's not the common cause. Humans may have killed some, even a lot of megafauna but certainly not all. Floods may have flushed away many specimens. Diseases may have decimated weakened hurds. But the common denominator for all extinctions appears to be change in habitat and consequently the loss of the battle for survival.

    The changes in habitat appear to have one comemon cause: climate changes. Those were there all the time.

    See also:


    Last edited: Jul 28, 2006
  8. Jul 28, 2006 #7


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    Each event is local. Did flood events take place over a large area of the world? Sure, but not simultaneously.

    The debate between "catastrophism" and "uniformitarianism" has moved to the middle ground of "both." There are little catastrophes (local) and global catastrophes --- you need something on a global scale to rationalize mass extinction events, and sporadic collapses of ice dams on meltwater lakes don't really fit into that category. Yes, local populations of this, that, or the other can be wiped out, and surviving populations from elsewhere expand into the cleared area to be wiped out during the next event. Wipe out every population everywhere at one time? No.
  9. Jul 28, 2006 #8
    This is great! Thank you Andre for bringing some perspective about root causes of meltdowns and that sort of thing. If would follow that an in depth study of the cause of prehistoric climate change would be underway, as it seems to be according to your threads. The earth's climate cycle appears to have a long wave frequency to it that is about as predictable as the weather!
  10. Jul 28, 2006 #9
    You're right bystander. There appears to be floods that built up and took place in different areas of the planet at different times. This seems to answer my question about extinctions and floods. Not too much to go on that says a whole species was wiped out because of a flood. Perhaps sub-species were displaced as you say but not whole species. These sub-glacial build ups and the supra-glacial lakes didn't seem to cause any where near as much of an extinction as the large body impact of 65 million years ago that left a crater in the gulf of mexico.

    It was a mistake for me to include the extinction possiblity with this thread. I wish I could edit my title. The Ice Age Flood analytical studies are facsinating enough with out the idea of a bunch of drowning mammoths. Thank you for at least reading some of what I've written here.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2006
  11. Jul 30, 2006 #10


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    we had horses in Alaska?
  12. Jul 30, 2006 #11
  13. Jul 31, 2006 #12
    What gets me is everytime I search ice age floods on google I get these creationist sites trying to allocate some sort of significance of the biblical floods to these catastrophic releases of meltwater from glaciers.

    The only connection I see between the biblical floods and ice age floods is that, at one time, a record was made of these flood events and it ended up in the biblical record. This would be a record surviving from around 9000 years ago around when the last glacial maximum began to subside.
  14. Jul 31, 2006 #13
    Well considering all kinds of natural floodings world wide, it's not that strange that there is an incredible amount of flood tales.

    But this is for amusement only, there is no evidence or connection anywhere. It may be noted though that the multiple spikes in the Greenland Ice cores between 14,500 and 12800 Calendar years BP, known as the Bolling Allerod event and the onset of the Holoceen as of 11,650 Calendar years ago, do show a remarkakle climate change that is alleged to be mostly temperature but in the geologic proxies it mostly shows as precipitation changes. And quite severly. But not Noah's flood.

    It appear that this also caused the spikes in the extinction events.
  15. Aug 2, 2006 #14

    I don't think it was a mistake. Some believe that he massive amounts of freshwater released into the oceans from these floods shut down the thermohaline current:


    This event possibly triggered wide reaching climate change that "could" of caused extinctions.
  16. Aug 2, 2006 #15


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    I was very surprised when I heard Al Gore say that in his masterpiece movie. He said a large flood completely shut down thermohaline circulation!! Egads!
  17. Aug 3, 2006 #16
    No, there are still looking for the source of all that alleged melt water, it could not be the Mississippi area, because that stopped flowing. It could not be the Saint Lawrence River, dates of the evidence is wrong there. It could not be the Hudson bay, - no evidence. etc,

    My guess is that it was when the clathrate gun of the Amazon fan stopped 12,800 years ago which also stopped the increased surface flow to the north.
  18. Aug 3, 2006 #17
    There is recorded evidence in India, as recent as the 1800s, where a build up of meltwater was suddenly released by a glacial dam in the Himalayas and annihilated 7000 men in the Sikh Army who were camped in the vicinity.

    There are quite a few facts from that area about Ice Age Floods that I will be able to offer at a later date, including a reference for the record of the Sikh Army losses to meltwater flooding in the 1800s.

    These Ice Age and Glacial meltwater release events held an emense power that has not been as thoroughly studied as other geological and oceanic events. It is said that the meltwater of the Ice Age, over an 8000 year period, contributed to a rise in sea level of many meters (I will provide references). Large amounts of fresh water added to various parts of the ocean could also have had a damaging effect to saltwater adapted life forms. Whether the cold water from glaciers would effect currents and so forth, as some have suggested, requires better studies.

    As Andre has pointed out, the amount of climate change taking place around the same time as the Ice Age Floods may prove to be the more fascinating study that would help to disclose why the climate was changing in the first place. This sort of knowledge could also apply to an understanding of why today's rather erratic weather and climate statistics are taking place.
  19. Aug 4, 2006 #18
    Reference for the above posting:

    Its from an article in Geology Today, pp 197, Nov.- Dec. 1998, titled "Flashfloods, earthquakes and uplift in the Pakistan Himalayas" by Butler, Owen and Prior.

    There is a small concensus among geologists that holds to the idea that there was a global superflood around 11,600 years ago. These people are not born again baptists or maintaining any religious significance about the flood (actually, three global superfloods). It is thought that the flood covered land masses as far apart as the eastern Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.

    One of the pioneers of Isotopic analysis of deep-sea sediments as a way to study the earth's past climates, Cesare Emiliani, Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Miami, produced interesting evidence of cataclysmic global flooding "between 12,000 and 11,000 years ago".

    Robert Schoch, Professor in the Department of Geology at Boston University, observes that there was also a dramatic warming of the earth's climate in the same period - the Preboreal - and that overall there is a

    A majority of Geologists saw the rise in sea level during the Preboreal as slow and nothing more than a meter per year or so. But since Emiliani's findings first began to undermine that view in the 1970s there are more and more studies that show how very cataclysmic the meltdown of the Ice Age could in fact have been.

    I will try to go back to a more indepth study of India and the evidence there of massive flooding that stemmed from melting of the Himalayan glaciation during the LGM. It is particularly pertinent to this topic since its effects have been well recorded in various formats by many generations of Indian people, from the spoken word of the Rig Veda to written Sanskrit. And there has been a lot of research done in the area as well, showing dramatic changes that took place on the coasts of India and in the interior around 10,000 years ago, due to flooding.
  20. Aug 4, 2006 #19
  21. Aug 4, 2006 #20


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