Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Noah's Ark in Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian & Babylonian Lore, Part 6 - The Genesis Flood

 Noah's Ark in Sumerian, Akkadian,
Assyrian & Babylonian Lore

Part 6 - The Genesis Flood

by R.E. Slater

NASB Bible Verses - Genesis 5:32 to 10:1
ESV Bible Verses - Genesis 5:32 to 10:1
RSV Bible Verses - Genesis 5:32 to 10:1

Wikipedia - Noah's Ark

The Pleistocene Era | 5:43
by Explified
Aug 4, 2022

The Pleistocene Era is the geological epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the Earth's most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change was finally confirmed in 2009 by the International Union of Geological Sciences, the cutoff of the Pleistocene and the preceding Pliocene was regarded as being 1.806 million years Before the Present (BP). Publications from earlier years may use either definition of the period. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology.


Christians don't normally think in terms of evolutionary event when reading their bible. But they should as it helps to place humanity in context with major event climate changes caused by earth's axial tilt, wobble, orbital shape, and the internal entropoic events occurring upon the Earth such as glacial events (sic, hot and cold periods of the earth) and the evolutionary life influences upon the earth.

All these events, and many more, impacts how the earth responds to favorable or unfavorable life sustenance periods such as the mammalian era before the Pleistocene Age (before 2 million years ago = 2mya) and the arisal of the Human era DURING the Pleistocene Age (after 2 million years ago = 2mya; sic, example: 2000kya = 2000 thousand years ago = 2mya).

In short, at the very end of the Pleistocene Age has come a favorable period of warming where flora and fauna (animals and humans) might flourish and continue to evolve....

During this time a variety of human types (hominins) spread out of Africa throughout the world while our own homo sapien species came about 300,000 years ago and also spread from Africa into the world.

Not so strangely though, we were less hardy as the earlier hominin species spread out ahead of us during the past 2 million years of glacial coming-and-goings. Hence, homo sapiens again spread out of Africa somewhere between 75,000-45,000 thousand years ago and this time manage to maintain our purchase upon our land-based travels during the past several ice ages of this time: The last ice age of this period is known as the Glacial Maximum (LGM, see immediately below for more information) which occurred from 26,000 to 20,000 years ago.

Since the LGM, human civilization began to leave the Stone Age (e.g., move from its Paleolithic Stone Age era to its Mesolithic Stone Age era) and made its final transitions from subsistence living to living together in beneficial communities. We call this era the Early Neolithic Era which began at the Younger Dryas Glaciation period (12,900 to 11,700 years ago) many years after the Last Glacial Maximum (26,000 to 20,000 years ago).

FYI - Of note, to help visualize the time span of humanity's (sic, homo sapien's) most recent period I will begin a series on man's ancient civilizations moving backwards, rather than forwards from NT Israel through the late neolithic age into the mesolithic and paleolithic ages of tribal clans and hunter gatherers.

By now, all other ancient hominin species have gone extinct (the Neanderthals at 45,000 years ago and just a bit after the Desnovians around 75,000 years ago) leaving modern humans to fight through the last ice ages ahead of it so that by around 6,000 BC humanity has entered the middle neolithic age; and around 4500 to 2500 BC has entered in the the late neolithic age marked by man's earliest forms of writing.

Humanity thus was transitioning through the Holocene period experimenting with the necessity of collecting itself together into generative communities which provided beneficial resourcing to one another during hard times and good (flooding and drought, for instance).

More simply, this Holocene Period is marked by the Younger Dryas glacial period's relent upon the Continents. As it drifted out of it's environmental impact many years since the Last Glacial Maximum, it like the LGM, held its residual affects upon Earth's landscapes and human civilization.

As the seas dropped, rivers coalesced with one another, and interior lakes emptied into the flat lands or joined with other lakes or seas, the forming earth presented challenges to human populations. One such famous event being known as Noah's Ark and the Genesis Flood which we read of in the bible.

When this was is not known. Some oral traditions have been found to have faithfully told of their lore some 5,000 years such as the Native American tribes around the Crater Lake, Oregon area. Another in ancient Australia's Aboriginal lores go back as late as 37,000 years ago. So the dating of the Genesis Flood which Noah found himself in cannot be stated for sure.

My own guess is around the 2400 BC mark of the Sumerian culture - although perhaps there was another similar tragedy found in the middle neolithic period. It was recent enough to be remembered by the Assyrians and Babylonians and late enough to have some questions about it.

However, what we can say for sure is that the Genesis Flood was not a global flood but a large regional flood like many being experienced by other humans around the world during their own times and eras.

Which is also why I've gone to such pains in showing today that it was only after the first several thousand years of melting ice ages that the land is more likely to experience the likelihood of conjoined flooding than it was to have experience many thousands of years later after the ice ages.

As example, the North American glaciers affected large areas of Canada and America together across their border lands but still were distinct enough to melt at different rates from West to East and North to South. But some 20,000 years since this time the Mississippi Delta floods at its own timetable and separately from those devastating coastal floods in Bangladesh, China, or Africa.

Let's end here.... My last article will discuss with ChapGPT it's own collection of information of the Genesis Flood and man's "ancient" civilizations through the neolithic period. Below can be found charts, tables, and resources on today's discussion.


R.E. Slater
November 1, 2023

Reference Notes
The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Last Glacial Coldest Period,[1] was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets were at their greatest extent 26,000 and 20,000 years ago.[2] Ice sheets covered much of Northern North America, Northern Europe, and Asia and profoundly affected Earth's climate by causing a major expansion of deserts,[3] along with a large drop in sea levels.[4]
Based on changes in position of ice sheet margins dated via terrestrial cosmogenic nuclides and radiocarbon dating, growth of ice sheets in the southern hemisphere commenced 33,000 years ago and maximum coverage has been estimated to have occurred sometime between 26,500 years ago[1] and 20,000 years ago.[5] After this, deglaciation caused an abrupt rise in sea level. Decline of the West Antarctica ice sheet occurred between 14,000 and 15,000 years ago, consistent with evidence for another abrupt rise in the sea level about 14,500 years ago.[6][7] Glacier fluctuations around the Strait of Magellan suggest the peak in glacial surface area was constrained to between 25,200 and 23,100 years ago.[8]
There are no agreed dates for the beginning and end of the LGM, and researchers select dates depending on their criteria and the data set consulted. Jennifer French, an archeologist specialising in the European Palaeolithic, dates its onset at 27,500 years ago, with ice sheets at their maximum by around 26,000 years ago and deglaciation commencing between 20,000 and 19,000 years ago.[9] The LGM is referred to in Britain as the Dimlington Stadial, dated to between 31,000 and 16,000 years ago.[10][11]

The Younger Dryas, which occurred circa 12,900 to 11,700 years BP,[2] was a return to glacial conditions which temporarily reversed the gradual climatic warming after the Last Glacial Maximum,[3] which lasted from circa 27,000 to 20,000 years BP. The Younger Dryas was the last stage of the Pleistocene epoch that spanned from 2,580,000 to 11,700 years BP and it preceded the current, warmer Holocene epoch. The Younger Dryas was the most severe and longest lasting of several interruptions to the warming of the Earth's climate, and it was preceded by the Late Glacial Interstadial (also called the Bølling–Allerød interstadial), an interval of relative warmth that lasted from 14,670 to 12,900 BP.
The change was relatively sudden, took place over decades, and resulted in a decline of temperatures in Greenland by 4~10 °C (7.2~18 °F),[4] and advances of glaciers and drier conditions over much of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. A number of theories have been put forward about the cause, and the hypothesis historically most supported by scientists is that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which transports warm water from the Equator towards the North Pole, was interrupted by an influx of fresh, cold water from North America into the Atlantic.[5] However, several issues do exist with this hypothesis, one of which is the lack of a clear geomorphological route for the meltwater. In fact, the originator of the metwater hypothesis, Wallace Broecker, stated in 2010 that "The long-held scenario that the Younger Dryas was a one-time outlier triggered by a flood of water stored in proglacial Lake Agassiz has fallen from favor due to lack of a clear geomorphic signature at the correct time and place on the landscape".[6] A volcanic trigger has been proposed more recently,[7] and the presence of anomalously high levels of volcanism immediately preceding the onset of the Younger Dryas has been confirmed in both ice cores[8] and cave deposits.[9]
The Younger Dryas did not affect the climate equally worldwide, but the average worldwide temperature changed drastically. For example, in the Southern Hemisphere and some areas of the Northern Hemisphere, such as southeastern North America, a slight warming occurred.[10]
The Younger Dryas is named after an indicator genus, the alpine-tundra wildflower Dryas octopetala, as its leaves are occasionally abundant in late glacial, often minerogenic-rich sediments, such as the lake sediments of Scandinavia.

The Holocene (/ˈhɒl.əsiːn, -oʊ-, ˈhoʊ.lə-, -loʊ-/)[2][3] is the current geological epoch. It began approximately 9,700 years before the Common Era (BCE)[a] (11,650 cal years BP, or 300 HE). It follows the Last Glacial Period, which concluded with the Holocene glacial retreat.[4] The Holocene and the preceding Pleistocene[5] together form the Quaternary period. The Holocene has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1. It is considered by some to be an interglacial period within the Pleistocene Epoch, called the Flandrian interglacial.[6]
The Holocene corresponds with the rapid proliferation, growth, and impacts of the human species worldwide, including all of its written history, technological revolutions, development of major civilizations, and overall significant transition towards urban living in the present. The human impact on modern-era Earth and its ecosystems may be considered of global significance for the future evolution of living species, including approximately synchronous lithospheric evidence, or more recently hydrospheric and atmospheric evidence of the human impact. In July 2018, the International Union of Geological Sciences split the Holocene Epoch into three distinct ages based on the climate, Greenlandian (11,700 years ago to 8,200 years ago), Northgrippian (8,200 years ago to 4,200 years ago) and Meghalayan (4,200 years ago to the present), as proposed by International Commission on Stratigraphy.[7] The oldest age, the Greenlandian was characterized by a warming following the preceding ice age. The Northgrippian Age is known for vast cooling due to a disruption in ocean circulations that was caused by the melting of glaciers. The most recent age of the Holocene is the present Meghalayan, which began with extreme drought that lasted around 200 years.[7]

* * * * * *

Pleistocene & Holocene Epochs | GEO GIRL
by GEO GIRL  |  May 23, 2021  | 33:48

Historical Geology Playlist
This video covers major events that occurred in the Holocene (our current epoch). Major glacial and interglacial cycles occurred in the Pleistocene and after the LGM, climate shifted back into a cooling regime called the Younger Dryas. The possible causes of the Younger Dryas include obstruction of ocean circulation and comet impacts. The impact hypothesis has also been proposed as a possible cause of the megafauna extinctions that occurred around this time. Large mammals, such as mammoths, mastodons, saber tooth cats, American elephants, giant armadillos, giant ground sloths, and short faced bears went extinct during this extinction event. Why? 2 hypotheses: the human-hunting hypothesis (humans hunted these animals to extinction) and the climate hypothesis (the rapid switch to cooling and possible comet impacts & wildfires caused the extinctions). After the Younger Dryas, things warmed back up and temperature remained relatively constant until ~1950 when the Anthropocene began. The Anthropocene and current climate change is discussed in the video: The Anthropocene Epoch.

* * * * * *

click to enlarge

Mapped: What Did the World Look Like in the Last Ice Age?

Article/Editing: Pallavi Rao
June 2, 2023

What Did the World Look Like in the Last Ice Age?

Was it all endless glaciers and frozen ice? The answer is a partial yes—with some interesting caveats.

The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), colloquially called the last ice age, was a period in Earth’s history that occurred roughly 26,000 to 19,000 years ago.

This map by cartographer Perrin Remonté offers a snapshot of the Earth from that time, using data of past sea levels and glaciers from research published in 2009, 2014, and 2021, alongside modern-day topographical data.

Let’s dive into the differences between the two Earths below:

The Last Ice Age: Low Seas, Exposed Landmasses

During an ice age, sea levels fall as ocean water that evaporates is stored on land on a large scale (ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers) instead of returning to the ocean.

Earth's Ice Cover - 20,000 Years Ago - 8% Surface v 3% Today

Earth's Ice Cover - 25% Land v 11 % Land

At the time of the LGM, the climate was cold and dry with temperatures that were 6 °C (11 °F) lower on average.

Water levels in the ocean were more than 400 feet below what they are now, exposing large areas of the continental shelf.

In the map above, these areas are represented as the gray, dry land most noticeable in a few big patches in Southeast Asia and between Russia and Alaska. Here are a few examples of regions of dry land from 20,000 years ago that are now under water:

  • A “lost continent” called Sundaland, a southeastern extension of Asia which forms the island regions of Indonesia today. Some scholars see a connection with this location and the mythical site of Atlantis, though there are many other theories.
  • The Bering land bridge, now a strait, connecting Asia and North America. It is central to the theory explaining how ancient humans crossed between the two continents.
  • Another land bridge connected the island of Great Britain with the rest of continental Europe. The island of Ireland is in turn connected to Great Britain by a giant ice sheet.
  • In Japan, the low water level made the Sea of Japan a lake, and a land bridge connected the region to the Asian mainland. The Yellow Sea—famous as a modern-day fishing location—was completely dry.
  • The cold temperatures also caused the polar parts of continents to be covered by massive ice sheets, with glaciers forming in mountainous areas.

Flora and Fauna in the Last Ice Age

The dry climate during the last ice age brought about the expansion of deserts and the disappearance of rivers, but some areas saw increased precipitation from falling temperatures.

  • Most of Canada and Northern Europe was covered with large ice sheets. The U.S. was a mix of ice sheets, alpine deserts, snow forests, semi-arid scrubland and temperate grasslands. Areas that are deserts today—like the Mojave—were filled with lakes. The Great Salt Lake in Utah is a remnant from this time.
  • Africa had a mix of grasslands in its southern half and deserts in the north—the Sahara Desert existed then as well...
  • and Asia was a mix of tropical deserts in the west, alpine deserts in China, and grasslands in the Indian subcontinent.
  • Several large animals like the woolly mammoth, the mastodon, the giant beaver, and the saber-toothed tiger roamed the world in extremely harsh conditions, but sadly all are extinct today.
  • However, not all megafauna from the LGM disappeared forever; many species are still alive, including the Bactrian camel, the tapir, the musk ox, and the white rhinoceros—though the latter is now an endangered species.

Will There Be Another Ice Age?

In a technical sense, we’re still in an “ice age” called the Quaternary Glaciation, which began about 2.6 million years ago. That’s because a permanent ice sheet has existed for the entire time, the Antarctic, which makes geologists call this entire period an ice age.

We are currently in a relatively warmer part of that ice age, described as an interglacial period, which began 11,700 years ago. This geological epoch is known as the Holocene.

Over billions of years, the Earth has experienced numerous glacial and interglacial periods and has had five major ice ages:


It is predicted that temperatures will fall again in a few thousand years, leading to expansion of ice sheets. However there are a dizzying array of factors that are still not understood well enough to say comprehensively what causes (or ends) ice ages.

A popular explanation says the degree of the Earth’s axial tilt, its wobble, and its orbital shape, are the main factors heralding the start and end of this phenomenon.

The variations in all three lead to a change in how much prolonged sunlight parts of the world receive, which in turn can cause the creation or melting of ice sheets. But these take thousands of years to coincide and cause a significant change in climate.

Furthermore, current industrial activities have warmed the climate considerably and may in fact delay the next ice age by 50,000-100,000 years.

* * * * * *

2.58 – 0.0117 Ma 
Map of the sea levels during the Last Glacial Maximum (glaciers not shown)
Name formalityFormal
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Chronological unitEpoch
Stratigraphic unitSeries
Time span formalityFormal
Lower boundary definition
Lower boundary GSSPMonte San Nicola Section, GelaSicilyItaly
37.1469°N 14.2035°E
Lower GSSP ratified2009 (as base of Quaternary and Pleistocene)[3]
Upper boundary definitionEnd of the Younger Dryas stadial
Upper boundary GSSPNGRIP2 ice core, Greenland
75.1000°N 42.3200°W
Upper GSSP ratified2008 (as base of Holocene)[4]

The Pleistocene (/ˈplstəˌsn, -st-/ PLY-stə-seen, -⁠stoh-;[5][6] often referred to colloquially as the Ice Age) is the geological epoch that lasted from c. 2.58 million to 11,700 years ago, spanning the Earth's most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change was finally confirmed in 2009 by the International Union of Geological Sciences, the cutoff of the Pleistocene and the preceding Pliocene was regarded as being 1.806 million years Before Present (BP). Publications from earlier years may use either definition of the period. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology. The name is a combination of Ancient Greek πλεῖστος (pleîstos), meaning "most", and καινός (kainóslatinized as cænus), meaning "new".

At the end of the preceding Pliocene, the previously isolated North and South American continents were joined by the Isthmus of Panama, causing a faunal interchange between the two regions and changing ocean circulation patterns, with the onset of glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere occurring around 2.7 million years ago. During the Early Pleistocene (2.58–0.8 Ma), archaic humans of the genus Homo originated in Africa and spread throughout Afro-Eurasia. The end of the Early Pleistocene is marked by the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, with the cyclicity of glacial cycles changing from 41,000-year cycles to asymmetric 100,000-year cycles, making the climate variation more extreme. The Late Pleistocene witnessed the spread of modern humans outside of Africa as well as the extinction of all other human species. Humans also spread to the Australian continent and the Americas for the first time, co-incident with the extinction of most large bodied animals in these regions.

The aridification and cooling trends of the preceding Neogene were continued in the Pleistocene. The climate was strongly variable depending on the glacial cycle, with the sea levels being up to 120 metres lower than present at peak glaciation, allowing the connection of Asia and North America via Beringia and the covering of most of northern North America by the Laurentide Ice Sheet.


Evolution of temperature in the Post-Glacial period at the very end of the Pleistocene, according to Greenland ice cores[7]
Temperature rise marking the end of the Pleistocene, as derived from Antarctic ice core data.

Charles Lyell introduced the term "Pleistocene" in 1839 to describe strata in Sicily that had at least 70% of their molluscan fauna still living today. This distinguished it from the older Pliocene Epoch, which Lyell had originally thought to be the youngest fossil rock layer. He constructed the name "Pleistocene" ("most new" or "newest") from the Greek πλεῖστος (pleīstos, "most") and καινός (kainós (latinized as cænus), "new");[8][9][10] this contrasts with the immediately preceding Pliocene ("newer", from πλείων (pleíōn, "more") and kainós) and the immediately subsequent Holocene ("wholly new" or "entirely new", from ὅλος (hólos, "whole") and kainósepoch, which extends to the present time.


The Pleistocene has been dated from 2.580 million (±0.005) to 11,650 years BP[11] with the end date expressed in radiocarbon years as 10,000 carbon-14 years BP.[12] It covers most of the latest period of repeated glaciation, up to and including the Younger Dryas cold spell. The end of the Younger Dryas has been dated to about 9640 BC (11,654 calendar years BP). The end of the Younger Dryas is the official start of the current Holocene Epoch. Although it is considered an epoch, the Holocene is not significantly different from previous interglacial intervals within the Pleistocene.[13] In the ICS timescale, the Pleistocene is divided into four stages or ages, the GelasianCalabrianChibanian (previously the unofficial "Middle Pleistocene"), and Upper Pleistocene (unofficially the "Tarantian").[14][15][note 1] In addition to these international subdivisions, various regional subdivisions are often used.

In 2009 the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) confirmed a change in time period for the Pleistocene, changing the start date from 1.806 to 2.588 million years BP, and accepted the base of the Gelasian as the base of the Pleistocene, namely the base of the Monte San Nicola GSSP.[17] The start date has now been rounded down to 2.580 million years BP.[11] The IUGS has yet to approve a type sectionGlobal Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP), for the upper Pleistocene/Holocene boundary (i.e. the upper boundary). The proposed section is the North Greenland Ice Core Project ice core 75° 06' N 42° 18' W.[18] The lower boundary of the Pleistocene Series is formally defined magnetostratigraphically as the base of the Matuyama (C2r) chronozone, isotopic stage 103. Above this point there are notable extinctions of the calcareous nannofossilsDiscoaster pentaradiatus and Discoaster surculus.[19][20] The Pleistocene covers the recent period of repeated glaciations.

The name Plio-Pleistocene has, in the past, been used to mean the last ice age. Formerly, the boundary between the two epochs was drawn at the time when the foraminiferal species Hyalinea baltica first appeared in the marine section at La Castella, Calabria, Italy;[21] however, the revised definition of the Quaternary, by pushing back the start date of the Pleistocene to 2.58 Ma, results in the inclusion of all the recent repeated glaciations within the Pleistocene.

Radiocarbon dating is considered to be inaccurate beyond around 50,000 years ago. Marine isotope stages (MIS) derived from Oxygen isotopes are often used for giving approximate dates.


Pleistocene non-marine sediments are found primarily in fluvial deposits, lakebeds, slope and loess deposits as well as in the large amounts of material moved about by glaciers. Less common are cave deposits, travertines and volcanic deposits (lavas, ashes). Pleistocene marine deposits are found primarily in shallow marine basins mostly (but with important exceptions) in areas within a few tens of kilometres of the modern shoreline. In a few geologically active areas such as the Southern California coast, Pleistocene marine deposits may be found at elevations of several hundred metres.

Paleogeography and climate

The maximum extent of glacial ice in the north polar area during the Pleistocene Period

The modern continents were essentially at their present positions during the Pleistocene, the plates upon which they sit probably having moved no more than 100 km (62 mi) relative to each other since the beginning of the period. In glacial periods, the sea level would drop by up to 120 m (390 ft) lower than today[22] during peak glaciation, exposing large areas of present continental shelf as dry land.

According to Mark Lynas (through collected data), the Pleistocene's overall climate could be characterised as a continuous El Niño with trade winds in the south Pacific weakening or heading east, warm air rising near Peru, warm water spreading from the west Pacific and the Indian Ocean to the east Pacific, and other El Niño markers.[23]

Glacial features

Pleistocene climate was marked by repeated glacial cycles in which continental glaciers pushed to the 40th parallel in some places. It is estimated that, at maximum glacial extent, 30% of the Earth's surface was covered by ice. In addition, a zone of permafrost stretched southward from the edge of the glacial sheet, a few hundred kilometres in North America, and several hundred in Eurasia. The mean annual temperature at the edge of the ice was −6 °C (21 °F); at the edge of the permafrost, 0 °C (32 °F).

Each glacial advance tied up huge volumes of water in continental ice sheets 1,500 to 3,000 metres (4,900–9,800 ft) thick, resulting in temporary sea-level drops of 100 metres (300 ft) or more over the entire surface of the Earth. During interglacial times, such as at present, drowned coastlines were common, mitigated by isostatic or other emergent motion of some regions.

The effects of glaciation were global. Antarctica was ice-bound throughout the Pleistocene as well as the preceding Pliocene. The Andes were covered in the south by the Patagonian ice cap. There were glaciers in New Zealand and Tasmania. The current decaying glaciers of Mount KenyaMount Kilimanjaro, and the Ruwenzori Range in east and central Africa were larger. Glaciers existed in the mountains of Ethiopia and to the west in the Atlas mountains.

In the northern hemisphere, many glaciers fused into one. The Cordilleran Ice Sheet covered the North American northwest; the east was covered by the Laurentide. The Fenno-Scandian ice sheet rested on northern Europe, including much of Great Britain; the Alpine ice sheet on the Alps. Scattered domes stretched across Siberia and the Arctic shelf. The northern seas were ice-covered.

South of the ice sheets large lakes accumulated because outlets were blocked and the cooler air slowed evaporation. When the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated, north-central North America was totally covered by Lake Agassiz. Over a hundred basins, now dry or nearly so, were overflowing in the North American west. Lake Bonneville, for example, stood where Great Salt Lake now does. In Eurasia, large lakes developed as a result of the runoff from the glaciers. Rivers were larger, had a more copious flow, and were braided. African lakes were fuller, apparently from decreased evaporation. Deserts, on the other hand, were drier and more extensive. Rainfall was lower because of the decreases in oceanic and other evaporation.

It has been estimated that during the Pleistocene, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet thinned by at least 500 meters, and that thinning since the Last Glacial Maximum is less than 50 meters and probably started after ca 14 ka.[24]

Major events

Ice ages as reflected in atmospheric CO2, stored in bubbles from glacial ice of Antarctica

During the 2.5 million years of the Pleistocene, numerous cold phases called glacials (Quaternary ice age), or significant advances of continental ice sheets, in Europe and North America, occurred at intervals of approximately 40,000 to 100,000 years. The long glacial periods were separated by more temperate and shorter interglacials which lasted about 10,000–15,000 years. The last cold episode of the last glacial period ended about 10,000 years ago.[25] Over 11 major glacial events have been identified, as well as many minor glacial events.[26] A major glacial event is a general glacial excursion, termed a "glacial." Glacials are separated by "interglacials". During a glacial, the glacier experiences minor advances and retreats. The minor excursion is a "stadial"; times between stadials are "interstadials".

These events are defined differently in different regions of the glacial range, which have their own glacial history depending on latitude, terrain and climate. There is a general correspondence between glacials in different regions. Investigators often interchange the names if the glacial geology of a region is in the process of being defined. However, it is generally incorrect to apply the name of a glacial in one region to another.

For most of the 20th century only a few regions had been studied and the names were relatively few. Today the geologists of different nations are taking more of an interest in Pleistocene glaciology. As a consequence, the number of names is expanding rapidly and will continue to expand. Many of the advances and stadials remain unnamed. Also, the terrestrial evidence for some of them has been erased or obscured by larger ones, but evidence remains from the study of cyclical climate changes.

The glacials in the following tables show historical usages, are a simplification of a much more complex cycle of variation in climate and terrain, and are generally no longer used. These names have been abandoned in favour of numeric data because many of the correlations were found to be either inexact or incorrect and more than four major glacials have been recognised since the historical terminology was established.[26][27][28]

Historical names of the "four major" glacials in four regions.
RegionGlacial 1Glacial 2Glacial 3Glacial 4
North EuropeEburonianElsterianSaalianWeichselian
British IslesBeestonianAnglianWolstonianDevensian
Midwest U.S.NebraskanKansanIllinoianWisconsinan
Historical names of interglacials.
RegionInterglacial 1Interglacial 2Interglacial 3
North EuropeWaalianHolsteinianEemian
British IslesCromerianHoxnianIpswichian
Midwest U.S.AftonianYarmouthianSangamonian

Corresponding to the terms glacial and interglacial, the terms pluvial and interpluvial are in use (Latin: pluvia, rain). A pluvial is a warmer period of increased rainfall; an interpluvial, of decreased rainfall. Formerly a pluvial was thought to correspond to a glacial in regions not iced, and in some cases it does. Rainfall is cyclical also. Pluvials and interpluvials are widespread.

There is no systematic correspondence of pluvials to glacials, however. Moreover, regional pluvials do not correspond to each other globally. For example, some have used the term "Riss pluvial" in Egyptian contexts. Any coincidence is an accident of regional factors. Only a few of the names for pluvials in restricted regions have been stratigraphically defined.


The sum of transient factors acting at the Earth's surface is cyclical: climate, ocean currents and other movements, wind currents, temperature, etc. The waveform response comes from the underlying cyclical motions of the planet, which eventually drag all the transients into harmony with them. The repeated glaciations of the Pleistocene were caused by the same factors.

The Mid-Pleistocene Transition, approximately one million years ago, saw a change from low-amplitude glacial cycles with a dominant periodicity of 41,000 years to asymmetric high-amplitude cycles dominated by a periodicity of 100,000 years.[29]

However, a 2020 study concluded that ice age terminations might have been influenced by obliquity since the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, which caused stronger summers in the Northern Hemisphere.[30]

Milankovitch cycles

Glaciation in the Pleistocene was a series of glacials and interglacials, stadials and interstadials, mirroring periodic changes in climate. The main factor at work in climate cycling is now believed to be Milankovitch cycles. These are periodic variations in regional and planetary solar radiation reaching the Earth caused by several repeating changes in the Earth's motion. The effects of Milankovitch cycles were enhanced by various positive feedbacks related to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and Earth's albedo.[31]

Milankovitch cycles cannot be the sole factor responsible for the variations in climate since they explain neither the long term cooling trend over the Plio-Pleistocene, nor the millennial variations in the Greenland Ice Cores known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events and Heinrich events. Milankovitch pacing seems to best explain glaciation events with periodicity of 100,000, 40,000, and 20,000 years. Such a pattern seems to fit the information on climate change found in oxygen isotope cores.

Oxygen isotope ratio cycles

In oxygen isotope ratio analysis, variations in the ratio of 18
 to 16
 (two isotopes of oxygen) by mass (measured by a mass spectrometer) present in the calcite of oceanic core samples is used as a diagnostic of ancient ocean temperature change and therefore of climate change. Cold oceans are richer in 18
, which is included in the tests of the microorganisms (foraminifera) contributing the calcite.

A more recent version of the sampling process makes use of modern glacial ice cores. Although less rich in 18
 than sea water, the snow that fell on the glacier year by year nevertheless contained 18
 and 16
 in a ratio that depended on the mean annual temperature.

Temperature and climate change are cyclical when plotted on a graph of temperature versus time. Temperature coordinates are given in the form of a deviation from today's annual mean temperature, taken as zero. This sort of graph is based on another of isotope ratio versus time. Ratios are converted to a percentage difference from the ratio found in standard mean ocean water (SMOW).

The graph in either form appears as a waveform with overtones. One half of a period is a Marine isotopic stage (MIS). It indicates a glacial (below zero) or an interglacial (above zero). Overtones are stadials or interstadials.

According to this evidence, Earth experienced 102 MIS stages beginning at about 2.588 Ma BP in the Early Pleistocene Gelasian. Early Pleistocene stages were shallow and frequent. The latest were the most intense and most widely spaced.

By convention, stages are numbered from the Holocene, which is MIS1. Glacials receive an even number; interglacials, odd. The first major glacial was MIS2-4 at about 85–11 ka BP. The largest glacials were 2, 6, 12, and 16; the warmest interglacials, 1, 5, 9 and 11. For matching of MIS numbers to named stages, see under the articles for those names.


Both marine and continental faunas were essentially modern but with many more large land mammals such as MammothsMastodonsDiprotodonSmilodontigerlionAurochsshort-faced bearsgiant slothsGigantopithecus and others. Isolated landmasses such as AustraliaMadagascarNew Zealand and islands in the Pacific saw the evolution of large birds and even reptiles such as the Elephant birdmoaHaast's eagleQuinkanaMegalania and Meiolania.

The severe climatic changes during the Ice Age had major impacts on the fauna and flora. With each advance of the ice, large areas of the continents became totally depopulated, and plants and animals retreating southwards in front of the advancing glacier faced tremendous stress. The most severe stress resulted from drastic climatic changes, reduced living space, and curtailed food supply. A major extinction event of large mammals (megafauna), which included mammothsmastodonssaber-toothed catsglyptodons, the woolly rhinoceros, various giraffids, such as the Sivatheriumground slothsIrish elkcave lionscave bearsGomphotheresAmerican lionsdire wolves, and short-faced bears, began late in the Pleistocene and continued into the Holocene. Neanderthals also became extinct during this period. At the end of the last ice age, cold-blooded animals, smaller mammals like wood mice, migratory birds, and swifter animals like whitetail deer had replaced the megafauna and migrated north. Late Pleistocene bighorn sheep were more slender and had longer legs than their descendants today. Scientists believe that the change in predator fauna after the late Pleistocene extinctions resulted in a change of body shape as the species adapted for increased power rather than speed.[32]

The extinctions hardly affected Africa but were especially severe in North America where native horses and camels were wiped out.

Various schemes for subdividing the Pleistocene

In July 2018, a team of Russian scientists in collaboration with Princeton University announced that they had brought two female nematodes frozen in permafrost, from around 42,000 years ago, back to life. The two nematodes, at the time, were the oldest confirmed living animals on the planet.[33][34]


The evolution of anatomically modern humans took place during the Pleistocene.[35][36] In the beginning of the Pleistocene Paranthropus species were still present, as well as early human ancestors, but during the lower Palaeolithic they disappeared, and the only hominin species found in fossilic records is Homo erectus for much of the Pleistocene. Acheulean lithics appear along with Homo erectus, some 1.8 million years ago, replacing the more primitive Oldowan industry used by A. garhi and by the earliest species of Homo. The Middle Paleolithic saw more varied speciation within Homo, including the appearance of Homo sapiens about 300,000 years ago.[37]

According to mitochondrial timing techniques, modern humans migrated from Africa after the Riss glaciation in the Middle Palaeolithic during the Eemian Stage, spreading all over the ice-free world during the late Pleistocene.[38][39][40] A 2005 study posits that humans in this migration interbred with archaic human forms already outside of Africa by the late Pleistocene, incorporating archaic human genetic material into the modern human gene pool.[41]

Hominin species during Pleistocene
Homo (genus)AustralopithecusAustralopithecus sedibaAustralopithecus africanusHomo floresiensisHomo neanderthalensisHomo sapiensHomo heidelbergensisHomo erectusHomo nalediHomo habilisHolocenePleistocenePliocene

See also[edit]

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ The Upper Pleistocene is a subseries/subepoch rather than a stage/age but, in 2009, the IUGS decided that it will be replaced with a stage/age (currently unofficially/informally named the Tarantian).[16]


  1. ^ Cohen, K. M.; Finney, S. C.; Gibbard, P. L.; Fan, J.-X. (January 2020). "International Chronostratigraphic Chart" (PDF). International Commission on Stratigraphy. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  2. ^ Mike Walker; et al. (December 2018). "Formal ratification of the subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch (Quaternary System/Period)" (PDF)Episodes. Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS). 41 (4): 213–223. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2018/018016. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  3. ^ Gibbard, Philip; Head, Martin (September 2010). "The newly-ratified definition of the Quaternary System/Period and redefinition of the Pleistocene Series/Epoch, and comparison of proposals advanced prior to formal ratification" (PDF)Episodes33 (3): 152–158. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2010/v33i3/002. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  4. ^ Walker, Mike; Johnse, Sigfus; Rasmussen, Sune; Steffensen, Jørgen-Peder; Popp, Trevor; Gibbard, Phillip; et al. (June 2008). "The Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Holocene Series/Epoch (Quaternary System/Period) in the NGRIP ice core"Episodes31 (2): 264–267. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/2008/v31i2/016.
  5. ^ Jones, Daniel (2003) [1917]. "Pleistocene". In Peter Roach; James Hartman; Jane Setter (eds.). English Pronouncing Dictionary. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressISBN 3-12-539683-2.
  6. ^ "Pleistocene"Dictionary.com Unabridged (Online). n.d.
  7. ^ Zalloua, Pierre A.; Matisoo-Smith, Elizabeth (6 January 2017). "Mapping Post-Glacial expansions: The Peopling of Southwest Asia"Scientific Reports7: 40338. Bibcode:2017NatSR...740338Pdoi:10.1038/srep40338ISSN 2045-2322PMC 5216412PMID 28059138.
  8. ^ Lyell, Charles (1839). Nouveaux éléments de géologie (in French). Paris, France: Pitois-Levranet. p. 621. From p. 621: "Toutefois, en même temps … et de substituer à la dénomination de Nouveau Pliocène celle plus abrégée de Pleistocène, tirée du grec pleiston, plus, et kainos, récent." (However, at the same time that it became necessary to subdivide the two periods mentioned above, I found that the terms intended to designate these subdivisions were of an inconvenient length, and I have proposed to use in the future the word "Pliocene" for "old Pliocene", and to substitute for the name "new Pliocene" this shorter "Pleistocene", drawn from the Greek pleiston (most) and kainos (recent).)
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  20. ^ Rio, D.; Sprovieri, R.; Castradori, D.; Di Stefano, E. (1998). "The Gelasian Stage (Upper Pliocene): a new unit of the global standard chronostratigraphic scale" (PDF)Episodes21 (2): 82–87. doi:10.18814/epiiugs/1998/v21i2/002.
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  23. ^ National Geographic ChannelSix Degrees Could Change The World, Mark Lynas interview. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
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External links