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What are Ice Ages?


Ice Ages are intervals of time when large areas of the surface of the earth are covered with ice sheets (large continental glaciers).

The term is used to describe time intervals on two very different scales. It describes long, generally cool intervals of Earth history (tens to hundreds of millions of years) during which glaciers advanced and receded. The term also describes shorter time periods (tens of thousands of years) during which glaciers were near their maximum extent. These shorter intervals are also known as "glaciations."

In addition, the term "Ice Age" is sometimes used to refer to the last major glaciation that occurred in North America and Eurasia. When used in this way, the first letters of both words are often capitalized. This is the way the term Ice Age is used in the Midwestern U.S. 16,000 Years Ago exhibit.

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