A wobbling of the Earth on its axis about 20,000 years ago may have kicked off a beginning to the end of the last ice age. Glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland began to melt, which resulted in a warming of the Earth, a new study says. Above, Greenland's Russell Glacier, seen in 1990.
The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans.
But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet.
Ice tells the history of the Earth's climate: Air bubbles in ice reveal what the atmosphere was like and what the temperature was. And scientists can read this ice, even if it's been buried for thousands of years.