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Press Release 14-081

Ancient ocean currents may have changed pace and intensity of ice ages

Slowing of currents may have flipped switch

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earth seen from outer space showing the North Atlantic currents

About 950,000 years ago, North Atlantic currents, Northern Hemisphere ice sheets underwent changes.

Credit: NASA


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map of the world showing the route of the great ocean conveyor currents

Ocean currents slowed 950,000 years ago, triggering colder but less frequent ice ages.

Credit: Leo Pena


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Scientist Leo Pena analyzes fossil plankton shells on a computer to reconstruct ocean circulation.

Scientists (pictured: Leo Pena) analyzed fossil plankton shells to reconstruct ocean circulation.

Credit: Kim Martineau


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isolated neodymium isotopes from  fossils

In an Ultra Clean Lab, neodymium isotopes in fossils were isolated and measured.

Credit: Leo Pena


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The scientific drillship JOIDES Resolution at sea

The scientific drillship JOIDES Resolution was used as a platform to collect deep-ocean sediment.

Credit: IODP


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Science cover

Natural gas extracted from a deep shale formation by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology burns at a well in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Fracking is enabling a shale gas production boom, remaking energy markets and stoking environmental concerns. See page 1464.

Credit: Photo Copyright Les Stone - Corbis


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