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By William James Burroughs

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3 The growing body of knowledge emphasises the complexity of the changes taking place during the LGM, which is now defined to have occurred between 23 and 18 kya. There are two principal reasons for its being hard to reach firm conclusions about the nature and timing of the changes during the LGM. First, there is a basic measurement challenge of reconciling the results of different measurement techniques applied to a wide variety of proxy records. Second, there is no doubt that the lowest temperatures occurred at different times around the northern hemisphere.

At first the geological community ridiculed the theory, but his passionate advocacy of the ice age was to prevail. Agassiz travelled to Scotland where he saw more evidence of glaciation and then in 1846 arrived in Nova Scotia where again the evidence of ice was plain to see. In 1848 he joined the Harvard faculty and was active in many fields, notably marine science, but continued glacial research in New England and around the Great Lakes. 4 Penck and Brucker model of past ice ages, which was based on studies of the geological evidence of fluctuations in the snow level in the European Alps and was published at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Their disadvantage is that where the amount of rainfall falls below a critical level, or in the case of the depth of the ice age turns to snow and becomes locked in ice and permafrost, the encrustation ceases. So breaks in the record require careful calibration, which is possible by measuring the uranium/thorium ratio throughout the speleothem. This provides an absolute dating of when different layers were deposited. In recent years an increasing number of measurements of speleothems from across the continents of the world have been published.

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