Illinois State Museum

Current Interglacial - Forces of Change

Actions of Living Things
The ability to use tools, fire, and clothing allows humans to adapt to almost any environment and modify it to meet their needs. As the number and distribution of humans increased, so did their effect on the environment.

Water released from the melting ice caused sea level to rise. North America was separated from Eurasia. Bare ground was absorbing more of the sun's heat, further warming the climate. The continental crust, which had been pushed down by the weight of the ice, was rising in areas that had been glaciated.

North America is still at high latitudes, and Earth's orbit and the tilt of its axis continue to change. Because of this, scientists think we are in a warm phase between glacial advances. They expect that glaciers will return. When? We're not sure—this is something we are studying at the Changes Institute.