How Dark Matter Could Cause Mass Extinctions

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1261896-how-dark-matter-could-cause-mass-extinctions/?utm_source=Epoch10&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8

photo The Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy, visible in the upper right. (Andyspictures/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

The Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy, visible in the upper right. (Andyspictures/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

The Earth’s infrequent but predictable path around and through our galaxy’s disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena on Earth, according to new research.

 

 

In a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, New York University biology professor Michael Rampino concludes that movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth’s core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.

The galactic disc is the region of the Milky Way Galaxy where our solar system resides. It is crowded with stars and clouds of gas and dust, and also a concentration of elusive dark matter—small subatomic particles that can be detected only by their gravitational effects.

Previous studies have shown that Earth rotates around the disc-shaped galaxy once every 250 million years. But the Earth’s path around the galaxy is wavy, with the sun and planets weaving through the crowded disc approximately every 30 million years.

 

Dark Matter Inside the Earth

Analyzing the pattern of the Earth’s passes through the galactic disc, Rampino notes that these disc passages seem to correlate with times of comet impacts and mass extinctions of life. The famous comet strike 66 million ago that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs is just one example.

What causes this correlation between Earth’s passes through the galactic disc, and the impacts and extinctions that seem to follow?

This artist's impression of the Milky Way galaxy. The blue halo of material surrounding the galaxy indicates the expected distribution of the mysterious dark matter. (L. Calçada/ESO)

While traveling through the disc, the dark matter concentrated there disturbs the pathways of comets typically orbiting far from the Earth in the outer solar system, Rampino observes. This means that comets that would normally travel at great distances from the Earth instead take unusual paths, causing some of them to collide with the planet.

But even more remarkably, with each dip through the disc, the dark matter can apparently accumulate within the Earth’s core. Eventually, the dark matter particles annihilate each other, producing considerable heat.

The heat created by the annihilation of dark matter in Earth’s core could trigger events such as volcanic eruptions, mountain building, magnetic field reversals, and changes in sea level, which also show peaks every 30 million years.

Rampino therefore suggests that astrophysical phenomena derived from the Earth’s winding path through the galactic disc, and the consequent accumulation of dark matter in the planet’s interior, can result in dramatic changes in Earth’s geological and biological activity.

His model of dark matter interactions with the Earth as it cycles through the galaxy could have a broad impact on our understanding of the geological and biological development of Earth, as well as other planets within the galaxy.

“We are fortunate enough to live on a planet that is ideal for the development of complex life,” Rampino says. “But the history of the Earth is punctuated by large scale extinction events, some of which we struggle to explain.

“It may be that dark matter—the nature of which is still unclear but which makes up around a quarter of the universe—holds the answer. As well as being important on the largest scales, dark matter may have a direct influence on life on Earth.”

In the future, he suggests, geologists might incorporate these astrophysical findings in order to better understand events that are now thought to result purely from causes inherent to the Earth. This model, Rampino adds, likewise provides new knowledge of the possible distribution and behavior of dark matter within the galaxy.

Source: NYU. Originally published on Futurity.org

Methane explosion? Meteorite crater?

Methane explosion? Meteorite crater? Scientists baffled by gigantic 262ft hole that has appeared at Siberia’s ‘End of The World’

  • Enormous crater appears suddenly in part of Russia whose name translates as ‘the end of the world’
  • Teams of scientists are rushing east to fathom the cause of this unusual – and rare – geographical occurrence
  • One especially outlandish theory talks about a UFO landing as a possible cause of this colossal chasm in the earth

An urgent expedition will leave tomorrow to probe a giant crater that has appeared in gas-rich northern Siberia.

Extraordinary aerial images show a mysterious hole which experts say may be up to 262 feet wide, in the ,of northern Russia.

‘A scientific team has been sent to investigate the hole and is due to arrive at the scene on Wednesday,’ The Siberian Times has reported.

What on earth is it? This enormous hole has appeared in a remote corner of Russia - and scientists are searching for answers

What on earth is it? This enormous hole has appeared in a remote corner of Russia – and scientists are searching for answers

Opening up: The enormous crater could be caused by global warming, with gas exploding below the surface

Opening up: The enormous crater could be caused by global warming, with gas exploding below the surface

The cause of the hole’s sudden appearance in Yamal – which translates as ‘the end of the world’ – in the far north of Siberia is not yet known.

There has been web speculation about the crater indicating ‘the arrival of a UFO craft’.

But one Russian expert says the cause is more likely to be global warming releasing gases under the surface, which then explode like a champagne cork.

Experts say that the darkening around the inner rim of the crater indicates ‘severe burning’ which scorched its edges.

 

‘There is agreement that soil around the hole was thrown out of the crater, large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into it,’ The Siberian Times reported – before adding ‘not that they have.’

The expedition organised by the Yamal authorities includes experts from Russia’s Centre for the Study of the Arctic, and also the Cryosphere Institute of the Academy of Sciences.

Very remote: The crater has appeared in Yamal - a part of Siberia whose name translates as 'the end of the world'

Very remote: The crater has appeared in Yamal – a part of Siberia whose name translates as ‘the end of the world’

Search for answers: Expedition teams are on their way to the site, hoping to work out the cause of the crater

Search for answers: Expedition teams are on their way to the site, hoping to work out the cause of the crater

The mysterious hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, some 20 miles from the Bovanenkovo gas field

The mysterious hole is in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, some 20 miles from the Bovanenkovo gas field

They plan to take samples of soil, air and water from the scene.

They will be accompanied by a specialist from Russia’s Emergencies Ministry.

A spokesman for the ministry’s Yamal branch has ruled out a meteorite, but says it is too early to say what caused the hole.

‘We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite,’ he says.

Dim and distant: Yamal is a corner of Russia far removed from the cities of St Petersburg and Moscow

Dim and distant: Yamal is a corner of Russia far removed from the cities of St Petersburg and Moscow

A place far far away: Yamal is is Russia's main production area for gas supplied to Europe

A place far far away: Yamal is is Russia’s main production area for gas supplied to Europe

Barren: Gas pipelines run through Yamal - but otherwise, in many places, there is little sign of life

Barren: Gas pipelines run through Yamal – but otherwise, in many places, there is little sign of life

Mysterious: One more outlandish theory suggests that the crater has been caused by the landing of a UFO

Mysterious: One more outlandish theory suggests that the crater has been caused by the landing of a UFO

Anna Kurchatova from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre, thinks the crater was formed by a mixture of water, salt and gas igniting an underground explosion, a result of global warming.

Gas accumulated in ice could have mixed with sand beneath the surface, and then mixed with salt.

Some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.

Who knows? Scientists are hoping to announce their findings as to the cause of the hole in the next few days

Who knows? Scientists are hoping to announce their findings as to the cause of the hole in the next few days

Global warming may have caused an ‘alarming’ melt in the under-soil ice, released gas and causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, Ms Kurchatova suggests.

Yamal, a large peninsula jutting into Arctic waters, is Russia’s main production area for gas supplied to Europe.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2693105/Giant-hole-appears-Siberia-Huge-crater-emerges-end-world.html#ixzz3SEqn0LaU
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