How Volcanoes Froze the Earth (Twice)

  • Published on Jul 17, 2019
  • Over 600 million years ago, sheets of ice coated our planet on both land and sea. How did this happen? And most importantly for us, why did the planet eventually thaw again? The evidence for Snowball Earth is written on every continent today.
    Thanks to Julio Lacerda and Franz Anthony from Studio 252mya for their wonderful illustrations. You can find more of their work here:
    Special thanks to Judy Pu for answering our questions about Snowball Earth.
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  • Science & TechnologyScience & Technology

Comments • 1 195

  • Paul vigil
    Paul vigil Day ago

    Underground cities

  • Ali Shaikh
    Ali Shaikh Day ago

    "Breaking up is hard to do"
    .... tell me about it.

  • Trey Spiva
    Trey Spiva 2 days ago

    Snowball is the real ice age

  • P Cochran
    P Cochran 3 days ago

    CO2 isn’t strong enough to cause that big a shift. Maybe a couple of degrees, but the shifts involved are way to powerful to be driven by a minor shift like that.

  • Chaos Stalker
    Chaos Stalker 3 days ago

    i would like to state that while some rocks can and do absorb CO2, most of the CO2 in the atmosphere is cleaned out by rain, and with 99% of all water on earth locked up in or below the ice, there was very little rain to clean the gases out of the atmosphere.

  • Helder De Almeida
    Helder De Almeida 3 days ago

    Okay I don't believe in snow earth. Yes all continents was cover in snow but not all earth. The continentals that time were all together so its possible all of them were covered in snow but not all earth first because once its covered all in snow it's really hard to unfreeze because the reflecting of the snow and even with volcanoes you need thousands of them to melt the ice or to warn the earth than you came to the problem of global warming like venus if there to much co2 or methane in the air so that's why I don't believe in snow earth

  • greg the groove :: drum covers

    Is it possible that icy worlds such as the moons of some planets like Titan and Europa for example, are currently in their own Ice Age(s) and will eventually get to the point Earth is now?

  • shrimpisdelicious
    shrimpisdelicious 8 days ago

    Wow, if I had a nickel for every time the Earth completely froze over, I'd have two nickels - which isn't a lot, but it's weird that it happened twice.

  • William Nolan
    William Nolan 8 days ago

    Winter is coming

  • John
    John 8 days ago

    I love the guessing game scientists do to explain something, but based on 0 facts. You know they are wrong, when they say use words such as, Hypothesis, Guess, we think, Not sure but. you get the Idea.

  • JadedJassy21
    JadedJassy21 9 days ago

    I can't stop watching these glad I found these!

  • TheTop HatNerd
    TheTop HatNerd 9 days ago

    I blame Canada for this event (and I live in it)

  • ComaDave
    ComaDave 10 days ago

    "Sponges grow in the ocean. That just kills me.
    I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be if that didn't happen" - Steven Wright.

  • Ric Connolly
    Ric Connolly 10 days ago

    You forgot to mention when did the sun returned from the 7% cooler output to warmer output.

  • Tegwyn Foster
    Tegwyn Foster 11 days ago

    The answer does not reside in Volcanoes. The answer is found in Plate Tectonics of which Volcanoes are a symptom. Continental drift along with orbital mechanics coupled with precession of the axis and solar output combined in a way to cool the planet. Carbon is not the regulator unto it’s self. The cryogenian period was ended when the continents formed.

  • Kashways
    Kashways 14 days ago +1

    Maybe life flourished under the thick ice by getting energy from underwater volcanoes (which some aquatic species still do on Earth, and that theory also supports that there might be life under the ice on Jupiter's moon, Europa.

  • Jocelyn Brisebois
    Jocelyn Brisebois 14 days ago

    Scientists claim that air pollution dropped from the sky at the end of the inter-glacial period for some unknown reason, and at the other end, some scientists claim that mammoths froze as if they were falling into a cryogenic bath. so should it be possible that at the end of the inter-glacial period, for a temperature drop reason, the air liquefies until the space touches the earth for a certain time ???

  • Cabal
    Cabal 14 days ago


  • MG K
    MG K 15 days ago

    im so glad i found this channel

  • MeowMiau343
    MeowMiau343 15 days ago

    New generation human will make earth a nice heatball earth with all this global warming things..

  • Karunajala Youngs
    Karunajala Youngs 16 days ago

    I watched this because I wanted to know if we can use some of this science to reverse the global heating effect we are experiencing. Its interesting that the runaway cooling feedback loop is the same (but the opposite) as the runaway heating loop we seem to have kicked off now.

  • Front Runner
    Front Runner 16 days ago

    Ahhh...but you never mentioned that the sun went micro nova and this along with the Earth's magnetic polar shift caused all the planet Earth's changes...even DNA!

  • HungerGamesFan88
    HungerGamesFan88 16 days ago

    >burning sulfur cools planet
    >sulfur turns into acid rain and doesn't last for very long anyway

  • Giovanni Thiene
    Giovanni Thiene 19 days ago

    That’s something i’ve never heard of.. wow

  • Billy G Diaz
    Billy G Diaz 19 days ago

    If birds are dinosaurs, and penguins are birds which live in the bitter cold, then why don't they display dinosaurs covered like penguins?

  • wcdeich4
    wcdeich4 22 days ago

    How does sulfur dioxide freeze the 18 million years later???? I understand it took a long time to rain out, but 18 million years?????? Isn't it more likely the shape of Rodinia blocking ocean currents was involved also?

  • Aron Sperling
    Aron Sperling 23 days ago

    If you didn't read that. I am impressed. If you did I'm still impresssed

  • Carl Ferguson
    Carl Ferguson 24 days ago

    3:45 - look at the image, in the bottom left hand corner. Anyone else see the doggo?

  • villen
    villen 24 days ago +1

    This is the answer to global warming, we just need a calculated ice age. A lot of people will die which helps solve the overpopulation problem while simultaneously helping with the overall amount of human pollution.

  • Jeffrey wolynski
    Jeffrey wolynski 24 days ago

    The Earth froze over due to the time it took to exchange orbit with other stars. The Earth did not always orbit the Sun. Here is a video that explains how planets evolve:

  • Patrick Moore
    Patrick Moore 25 days ago

    global warming trigger: "Now, there have been glaciers on our planet before - in fact, we have some now"

  • somethin somethin
    somethin somethin 25 days ago

    How does weathering store c02?

    • Richard Trischka
      Richard Trischka 20 days ago

      well the co2 bounds with the rainwater over time and so turns it into a weak carbonic acid.....that carbonic acid rains down and instead of just disolving and releasing the Co2 again it it reacts with for example limestone,(what is basicly just calcium carbonate ) and so bounds the co2 in form of calcium bicarbonate.

      This process is called Chemical Weathering. But its a very slow process...

  • Jess O.
    Jess O. Month ago

    The longest snow day ever! Yay!

  • Shanine Jackman
    Shanine Jackman Month ago +1

    I honestly learn better Stuff then I ever did in school watching these videos!!!
    Thank you PBS Eons & the ppl the ppl who work hard on these vids to give us this info!!!! 👏

  • ronin
    ronin Month ago +1

    This is how the end of Game of Thrones should have been.

  • The Hiking gamer
    The Hiking gamer Month ago

    Next video: how the humans scorched the earth ( first and last time).

  • Scott Jones
    Scott Jones Month ago

    Another video to remind me how tough it will be to find life on other planets, since we have to find it at the right time.

  • Cubs Gaming
    Cubs Gaming Month ago

    I dunno I’d like to see more evidence then presented 🤷‍♂️

    • Eduardo Freitas
      Eduardo Freitas Month ago

      I wish they would just put the articles in the description but it's pretty easy to google stuff we see. Tons of scientific articles in these subjects.

  • Zane Bliss
    Zane Bliss Month ago

    Hoth phase.

  • weibie Katz
    weibie Katz Month ago

    Could the channel do a video about the evolution of the first true flowers?

  • Dipak Singh
    Dipak Singh Month ago

    Fantastic documentary! one question - Is it possible that another ice ball earth to happen in future? Or, the earth is going to get so warm in future that an ice ball earth or even an ice age can never occur?

    • John DC
      John DC 26 days ago

      Probably not, since the formation of a supercontinent and the increase of the sun's luminosity in the future will just raise global temperatures gradually.

  • Candy Souvannarangsy
    Candy Souvannarangsy Month ago +2

    Why is all I can think of during this video is
    "Super-heated rocks from the Earth's core is surging to the crust, melting ice built up over thousands of years." 🙃🙃🙃
    Evidence: the equator froze
    Scientists: no no no can't be... the Earth must've freaking flipped completely on its side

  • Fishslap 33
    Fishslap 33 Month ago

    I would like to point out here that liquid water at earth's pressure levels can't really get much below 0C regardless,. So for sea life at least, conditions wouldn't have changed too much temperature wise. Arctic waters now were at basically the same temperature as sea water would have been then. And the ice that forms on the surface insulates the water below, which helps it stay liquid. Dark and low on oxygen, yes. Also slightly less water to live in, since a lot of it is ice. But other than that, not so different.

  • Sheepboy25262
    Sheepboy25262 Month ago +1

    pbs for the win (ftw)

  • Catherine Miranda
    Catherine Miranda Month ago +1

    *not to hot and not too cold*
    Me: UMMMMM well IT'S GETTING hotter and POLAR BEARS ARE going extinct cause of global warming 😢😢😢

  • David Roberts
    David Roberts Month ago

    Terrible, uninspiring presentation.

  • Maanya Mahesh
    Maanya Mahesh Month ago +1

    I loveeee spongesss!!!
    and Eons too

  • Not Human
    Not Human Month ago +1

    Single cause theories are weak.
    More likely its was oxygen at high atmospheric levels, boom in life increased while decreasing carbon recyclers, earth either tilted or was hit hard enough by a commet to push it off its obrit, decreasing sunlight and temperatures starting a die off, more and more creatures died and killed most of carbon recyclers left, this run away reaction caused the earth to rapidly cool.
    It ended when oxygen couldn't be replaced, volcanic activity caused a melt somewhere and exposed large amounts of carbon mats, bacteria returned to eat it releasing more carbon then reversed it.
    Or life learned to survive off the deep seas with no where else to go and built up enough methane over time to be released.
    Life has away to survive if carbon, water, and some source of food to be tapped then piggybacks off of it to expand and adapt.

  • morelli tech
    morelli tech Month ago

    In order for us to servive is for future societies to become transgendered, and luckily the US is spearheading this change in social norms. Please vote in 2020, and think about the future of our planet.

  • Weronika Erdmann
    Weronika Erdmann Month ago

    I love Snowball Earth. That was so cool time.

  • Jeremy Bennett
    Jeremy Bennett Month ago


  • Phyrrus John Seno
    Phyrrus John Seno Month ago

    TierZoo: Outside Beta ver. Patch Snowball Earth

  • Ace Kiwi71
    Ace Kiwi71 Month ago

    What's her name?

  • Tom Kast
    Tom Kast Month ago

    But your whole assumption is that if life is here now, it must have lasted through snowball earth. That simply highlights that you do not know, nor accept that "life" can "start" somewhere. So please let me help. The earth itself can start. We believe it formed from star dust from another exploding star that (dust) was revolving around the sun. And a given form of "life" (e.g. prokaryotes) too can start. And it will start again in an infinite number of places. That is all common sense. But the key, that is missing here, is that "life" is not what you think it is, well, it is much more. In its greater definition, it actually has no "start" only evolution (no quotes, evolution is a very correct idea about life). Minerals precipitating is also life. Crystals growing is life. And there are natural logical subsequent steps, from there, leading to, RNA growing, etc... Just like some 8 billion years ago, the earth started growing, it is also alive. Then of course conversely "death" is also not that absolute end that it is defined as...

  • subhabrata das
    subhabrata das Month ago

    OK ,I get it .The earth is old.

  • heheheheheheheheheh

    proof global warning isnt real

    checkmate atheists

  • AppleGamer
    AppleGamer Month ago

    when will it happen again???

  • Catwoman
    Catwoman Month ago

    This could save us for the global can happen again,so buy extra socks..

  • Jack Crooker
    Jack Crooker Month ago

    If the continental plates were shifting so violently during that time period, I think their separation points would probably be where the ice was thin enough to support photosynthesis. The shifting would generate/release heat and constantly cause cracks to firm in the ice, after all.

  • Carl Boucher
    Carl Boucher Month ago

    Thank you very much for explaining this.. and it is exactly why we need the Federal Reserve to print out a couple of quadrillion. So we can give it back to the government in the form of taxes so we can colonize Mars.. I mean it's only logical right