A Clue to Why Ice Ages Got Much Longer

A Clue to Why Ice Ages Got Much Longer
AP Photo/Sam McNeil

If you've read about the “ice ages” of Earth's recent history before, you probably learned that the cyclical rhythm of these climate changes is controlled by several reliable cycles in Earth's orbit. That relationship is pretty clear, but there's also a fascinating and unsolved puzzle here. For about the last 700,000 years, glacial periods were each about 100,000 years long—lining up with a subtle cycle in the shape of Earth's orbit around the Sun.

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