Considering a Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth

Christie-Blick, Nicholas; Sohl, Linda E.; Kennedy, Martin J.

P. F. Hoffman et al. and N. Christie-Blick et al. discuss Hoffman et al.'s paper that "developed a modified 'snowball Earth' hypothesis (2) to explain the association of Neoproterozoic low-latitude glaciation with the deposition of 'cap carbonate' rocks bearing highly depleted carbon isotopic values (δ13C ≤ −5‰). According to Hoffman et al., the ocean became completely frozen over as a result of a runaway albedo feedback, and primary biological productivity collapsed for an interval of geological time exceeding the carbon residence time (greater than 105 years). During this interval, continental ice cover is inferred to have been thin and patchy owing to the virtual elimination of the hydrological cycle. "


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