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Did dark matter kill the dinosaurs ?


Posted on Monday, 23 February, 2015 | Comment icon 29 comments

Mass extinctions occur once every 30 million years. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists have suggested that dark matter might be the main culprit in mass extinction events.
Recently it was proposed that mass extinctions, destructive events responsible for wiping out a large portion of the Earth's species every 30 million years or so, could be the result of our solar system passing through clouds of dust and gas on the galactic plane.

Now however it turns out that dark matter, the mysterious theoretical substance thought to make up most of the matter in the universe, might also be responsible.

Scientists propose that as the solar system passes through the galactic plane, dark matter, like the dust and gas, may perturb the orbits of distant comets and send them hurtling towards us.

At the same time however, dark matter particles may also be having a direct impact on the Earth's core, raising its temperature and producing a series of cataclysmic volcanic events.

"One of those sources of environmental disruption might be tolerable," said geophysicist Dennis Kent. "But together they might pack a one-two punch that is too much for many ecosystems to bear."

Source: Science Magazine | Comments (29)

Tags: Dark Matter, Extinction

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #20 Posted by bmk1245 on 24 February, 2015, 13:52
I'm curious as to how dark matter is supposed to heat up the Earth's core and spawn widespread volcanic activity. I thought it supposedly didn't react with matter at all... Higher pressure due to higher gravity.
Comment icon #21 Posted by DieChecker on 25 February, 2015, 1:34
Higher pressure due to higher gravity. Wouldn't it have to gather and stay there? Wouldn't that then seem to indicate that the core heat would just keep climbing as more Dark Matter was captured by the Earth's Gravity? I suppose, like was in the article, that it may have been in "clouds", and a dense cloud might do the same thing... increase the mass within the Earth's volume, and thus increase gravity for a short time.
Comment icon #22 Posted by minera on 25 February, 2015, 16:20
yet another extinction theory. Waste of grant money that could be put to a better use.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Thorvir Hrothgaard on 26 February, 2015, 3:10
yet another extinction theory. Waste of grant money that could be put to a better use. Doing what?
Comment icon #24 Posted by DieChecker on 26 February, 2015, 4:04
Doing what? Funding more semi abusive/intrusive Autism studies that need to be cooked down to a tiny segment of the original group to show vaccines are bad? Or perhaps more studies on how fluoride in water will hurt you if you drink a barrel of water a day?
Comment icon #25 Posted by bmk1245 on 27 February, 2015, 23:47
Wouldn't it have to gather and stay there? Wouldn't that then seem to indicate that the core heat would just keep climbing as more Dark Matter was captured by the Earth's Gravity? I suppose, like was in the article, that it may have been in "clouds", and a dense cloud might do the same thing... increase the mass within the Earth's volume, and thus increase gravity for a short time. Yep, though isn't clear what happened to those DM "clouds" after "event": still sits inside the Earth, or "disappeared" in some way...
Comment icon #26 Posted by Harte on 28 February, 2015, 0:08
Wouldn't it have to gather and stay there? Wouldn't that then seem to indicate that the core heat would just keep climbing as more Dark Matter was captured by the Earth's Gravity? I suppose, like was in the article, that it may have been in "clouds", and a dense cloud might do the same thing... increase the mass within the Earth's volume, and thus increase gravity for a short time. The hypothesis is that the dark matter we passed through perturbed comets in the Oort cloud, causing some to fall into the inner solar system and eventually (possibly) smash into the Earth. Harte
Comment icon #27 Posted by DieChecker on 28 February, 2015, 3:59
The hypothesis is that the dark matter we passed through perturbed comets in the Oort cloud, causing some to fall into the inner solar system and eventually (possibly) smash into the Earth. Harte I wonder why dark matter would be just sitting there, and not turning with the spiral arm like we are? Isn't DM supposed to be the main engine that drives galactic rotation?
Comment icon #28 Posted by Harte on 28 February, 2015, 10:11
We aren't turning with the spiral arm. We drift in and out of them. Link. See the right side column on that e-book page. Harte
Comment icon #29 Posted by RSF on 27 April, 2015, 15:47
Crocks were one of a very-few cold blooded reps that survived. So my problem with the Astoroid scenerio being the cause of the death of the Dinasaur era is simply..how did a cold-blooded reptile depending on the Sun's heat to allow them to move and digest survive the cold?


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