The Permo-Carboniferous glacigenic sediment at the base of the Gondwanan basins reflects the culmination1,2 of the glacial episode that started in Australia and southern South America in the Namurian, after two local episodes in northern South America and adjacent Africa in the Visean and latest Devonian3 (Fig. 1). Here we show that the start of each episode was associated with orogenic uplift of the bordering regions: Northern South America and adjacent Africa in the latest Devonian and Visean, and southern South America and eastern and central Australia in the Namurian. All areas, except southern South America in the Namurian, were at mid - (and not high) latitudes. Thus, we show that whereas the first order control of glaciation was the configuration of the continents and oceans during the closing of Palaeo-Tethys, orogenesis provided a second order control by the accumulation of ice about bordering uplifts during the three glacial episodes.