What is causing such regular geological upheaval ? Image Credit: NASA
Many of our planet's most significant geological events have occurred in roughly 27.5-million-year intervals.
According to a new study by Professor Michael Rampino of New York University, and colleagues, the biggest geological events of the last 260 million years - whether they be major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or sea level changes - occurred at approximate intervals of 27.5 million years.
This peculiar rhythmic pattern is now being referred to as the Earth's 'pulse'.
"For quite a long time, some geologists have wondered whether there's a cycle of around 30 million years in the geologic record," said Rampino.
"Many, but maybe even most, [geologists] would say that geological events are largely random."
To get to the bottom of the mystery, he and his fellow researchers identified 89 major geological events in Earth's history and then used analytical techniques to determine their frequency.
The results indicated with 96% confidence that the events had centered around 10 separate points in history, suggesting that it was "unlikely to be a coincidence."
Exactly why this should be happening is not currently understood, however it could have something to do with plate tectonics and movement within the Earth's mantle.
Another, more 'out there' theory is that our planet may be regularly passing through parts of the galaxy with larger concentrations of dark matter, however this cannot currently be proven.
The team now hopes to delve even further back in time to see if the pattern continues.
If it does, it could help to pinpoint precisely what is responsible for it.
Source: Live Science | Comments (1)
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