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Lesson 29: Was There an Ice Age?

by Stacia McKeever and Dan Lietha on June 6, 2016
“From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen” (Job 38:29–30).

Antarctica today is almost completely covered in ice. So is much of Greenland. but did you know that great sheets of ice used to be in many other places, like the Alps, Tasmania (Australia), and even Ohio (USA)? Where did that ice come from, and where has it gone?

Ice Today

Ice, Ice, and More Ice

Around 4,300 years ago, God judged the sin of mankind with a globe-covering watery catastrophe (Genesis 6–9). Many scientists who believe the Bible explain that this Flood provided just the right conditions for great sheets of ice to form afterwards.

Fountains of the Deep

At the beginning of the Flood, the “fountains of the great deep” broke open. Hot water from inside the earth gushed into the oceans. Eventually, the land was completely covered with water.

At the end of the Flood, the waters drained off the land into the oceans. The oceans were warmer than they are today from all the volcanic activity caused by the “fountains” breaking open and the land masses moving around.

Being warmer, the water in the oceans evaporated faster than it does today. Clouds formed, like we see on the weather reports today. but these clouds were bigger. They carried more water than today’s clouds, because there was more evaporation from the oceans. So, there was much more snow and rain in the years after the Flood.

Also, the snow fell over a much larger area—in places that do not have snow today. That is because the volcanoes had blasted so much fine dust high into the air that the sun’s warmth was blocked from the earth. So places which are warm today were much cooler then.

Volcanic Dust

The volcanic dust and clouds kept the land cool. The snow on the ground didn’t melt during the summer.

Instead, it turned to ice. Gradually thick ice sheets built up. They eventually covered about one-third of the land on earth!

After many years, the oceans cooled down. With less evaporation, there was less snowfall. Also, the volcanoes weren’t as active, and the dust cleared away. The sun’s warmth was able to melt the snow and ice each summer. Eventually, the “Ice Age” was over.

Ice Age

Scientists believe that the Ice Age lasted around 700 years—500 years to build up, and 200 years to melt back.

How Do We Know Where the Great Ice Sheets Were?

Glacier

Some parts of the world are still covered with ice, especially on and near the snow-capped mountains. Often the ice moves slowly down the steep slopes of the mountains. These glaciers, as they are called, grind up the rock they creep over. They carve U-shaped valleys, leave groove marks behind, and also carry heaps of broken rock long distances.

That’s why we know that there must have once been much bigger ice sheets than we have today. We see the tell-tale U-shaped valleys, groove marks, and heaps of crushed rocks and boulders in many places around the world.

Although some people claim there have been many “ice ages” over millions of years, the truth is that there really was only one. It was caused by the results of the Flood. Its effects can still be seen today!

By the Way

The Bible tells about one of the descendants of Noah (a man named Job), who possibly experienced the effects of the Ice Age. God asked Job, “From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen” (Job 38:29–30).

Mammoth Mystery Solved!

Some people believe mammoths lived and died out around 10,000 years ago. But is that really true?

By carefully studying the Bible, we learn that God created the original kinds of animals (such as the elephant/mammoth kind) around 6,000 years ago. Two of every kind of land animal (seven of some!) were on Noah’s Ark and saved from the Flood, which happened around 4,300 years ago.

This means that mammoths could not have died out more than 10,000 years ago. In fact, some mammoths may still have been alive just a few hundred years ago!

Want to learn more? Read the entire Answers for Kids Student Handout Set online!

Lesson 29: Was There an Ice Age? Download PDF