By Richard Garratt; Michael Allaby; Trevor Day; Peter D Moore
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Sand grains are relatively large and usually very angular in shape. They do not fit together neatly, and consequently sand and sandy soils have large pores. Clay, on the other hand, consists of microscopically small, flat-sided particles that lie in sheets, stacked one on top of another with extremely small pores between them. But the difference in size of the particles means that the total pore space may be similar for both soils. In that case, both soils are equally porous. They are not equally water permeable, however.
The ice never reached the Tropics and temperatures there remained tolerable for trees, but the rainfall decreased dramatically. Low temperatures in higher latitudes meant that less water evaporated from the Earth’s oceans, so globally fewer clouds formed and less rain and snow fell. Less rain and snow meant that the ground was drier, so there was less water to evaporate from the ground surface. It was not only the continents that were covered by ice; so was a large area of the sea. It froze, reducing the area of exposed water surface and therefore reducing evaporation further.
Very gradually, it was becoming cooler. Falling temperatures in high latitudes reduced the amount of water evaporating from the oceans. Consequently less cloud formed, and although the Tropics remained warm they became drier. The tropical forests were compressed into an increasingly narrow equatorial belt, and the rain forests survived only near the coasts and in hilly country—places where the rainfall remained high throughout the year. Deserts appeared in the subtropics, and between the rain forests and the deserts there was seasonal tropical forest composed of plants descended from rain forest ancestors.