Last Glacial Maximum was earlier than Thought

GlacialAccording to previous studies, the time when the last glacial maximum occurred was 20,000 years ago. It was the time when Earth's far northern and far southern latitudes were largely covered in ice sheets and sea levels were low.

However, a new study has dispelled the previous conclusions by saying that it was not true at least for one part of southern Europe. The local glacial maximum there occurred considerably earlier, which was around
26,000 years ago.

The study was headed by University of Pennsylvania geologist Jane Willenbring who is an assistant professor in Penn's Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts and Sciences. He teamed with researchers from Spain, the United Kingdom, China and the United States to derive results on ancient glaciers of southern Europe.

Willenbring and colleagues adopted a technique to figure out a date when glaciers were at their greatest extent. The technique, cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating, measures the chemical residue of supernova explosions.

Willenbring said, "Previously, people believe the last glacial maximum was somewhere in the range of 19-23,000 years ago. Our chronology indicates that's more in the range of 25-29,000 years ago in Spain". He noted that the new date for glacier maximum will help in creating accurate global climate models.