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Home / Science / Other planets in the Milky Way may have oceans and continents like Earth

Other planets in the Milky Way may have oceans and continents like Earth



The last major geomagnetic reversal triggered a series of dramatic events that had a profound impact on our planet. What they read is like the plot of a horror movie: the ozone layer is destroyed, electric storms raging in the tropics, the solar wind produces a spectacular light show (aurora), the Arctic air is all over North America, ice fields and glaciers are surging, and weather patterns are changing drastically.

In these events, life on Earth was exposed to intense ultraviolet rays, Neanderthals and megafauna known as megafaunas became extinct, and modern humans sought protection in caves.

The magnetic north pole pointed by the compass has no fixed position. Instead, due to the movement inside the earth̵

7;s core, it usually rotates around the geographic north pole (the point where the earth rotates) over time.

For reasons that are not fully understood, magnetic pole movement can sometimes be more extreme than swing. One of the most dramatic events of these highly influential migrations took place about 42,000 years ago and was called the Laschamps Tour-named after the village found in the middle of the French plot.

Laschamps tours have been recognized worldwide, including the recent Tasmania, Australia. But until now, it is not clear whether this change in magnetism will affect the Earth’s climate and life. Our new work brings together multiple pieces of evidence, which strongly shows that these effects are indeed global and far-reaching.

Old tree

To investigate what happened, we analyzed ancient New Zealand Kauri Tree It has been preserved in peat bogs and other sediments for more than 40,000 years. Using the annual rings in the kauri tree, we have been able to establish detailed time scales that illustrate the changes in the Earth’s atmosphere during this time. These trees show that as the poles switch, the collapse of the earth’s magnetic field causes a long-term increase in the level of radiocarbon in the atmosphere, thus providing a way to accurately link widely distributed records.

“Kauri trees are like Rosetta steles, helping us to combine records of environmental changes in caves, ice cores and peat swamps around the world,” said Professor Alan Cooper, who co-led the research project.

Using the newly created time scale, we were able to prove that the tropical Pacific rain belt and the westerly wind in the South China Sea suddenly changed at the same time, which brought drought conditions and giant wombats to a series of similar large animals (including giant kangaroos) in Australia Extinct. Further north, the vast Lorient ice sheet grew rapidly in the eastern United States and Canada, while in Europe, Neanderthals gradually became extinct.

Climate simulation

We used computer programs to simulate the global interaction between chemistry and climate, and we studied the effects of weak magnetic fields and changes in the strength of the sun. What is important is that during magnetic switching, the magnetic field strength drops below 6% of today’s. The compass at that time was even hard to find north.

Old kauri tree logs from Ngāwhā, New Zealand. Nelson Parker, author provided

Since there is basically no magnetic field, our planet has completely lost its very effective shield against cosmic radiation, and more of these highly penetrating particles from space can enter the atmosphere. The most important thing is that during this period, the sun experienced several “solar miniaturization”. During this period, the overall solar activity is usually much lower, but it is also more unstable, emitting a lot of solar flares, making it more powerful Ionized cosmic rays reach the earth.

Our model shows that the combination of these factors has a magnifying effect. High-energy cosmic rays from the Milky Way and a large number of cosmic rays from solar flares can penetrate the upper atmosphere, charge particles in the air and cause chemical changes, leading to the loss of stratospheric ozone.

The modeled chemical-climate simulation is consistent with the environmental changes observed in many natural climate and environmental change archives. These conditions will also allow the Aurora’s dazzling light show to expand globally-sometimes, the night will be as bright as the day. We believe that the dramatic changes and unprecedented high UV levels caused early humans to seek refuge in caves, which could explain the sudden blossom of cave art around the world 42,000 years ago.

It seems to have passed.

Adams Incident

Due to the coincidence of seemingly random cosmic events and extreme environmental changes discovered around the world 42,000 years ago, we call this period the “Adams event”, which is a reference to the great science fiction writer Douglas Adams (Douglas Adams) To pay tribute, the latter wrote the “Traveler’s Guide” galaxy and determined that “42” is the answer to life, the universe and everything. Douglas Adams (Douglas Adams) did embark on a major event, how did he know the remaining mysteries?

Chris Fogwill is a professor of glaciology and paleoclimatology, the head of the school’s department of geography, geology and environmental science, and the director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at Keele University.

Alan Hogg is professor and director of the Carbon Dating Laboratory at the University of Waikato.

Chris Turney is Professor of Earth Sciences and Climate Change, Director of the Earth and Sustainability Science Research Centre, Chronos 14Carbon-Cycle Facility Project Leader, and the University of New South Wales Australia Biodiversity and Director of the Heritage Research Center.

Zoë Thomas is a researcher at UNSW ARC DECRA.

Disclosure Statement: Chris Fogwill received funding from UKRI and the Australian Research Council. Many thanks to Professor Alan Cooper (Professor Alan Cooper), Honorary Researcher of the Museum of South Australia, for co-leading this research; University of New South Wales Adjunct Professors Ken McCracken and Dr. Jonathan Palmer, New Zealand National Water Research Drew Lowry and Atmospheric Research, Dr. Janet Willmshurst of Landcare Research, and co-author of our published article.

Professor Alan Hogg works at Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand. He is the Associate Researcher of the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Grant-MFP-NIW1803: Dr. Andrew Lorrey of NIWA, Auckland, the principal researcher.

Chris Turney has received funding from the Australian Research Council and is a clean technology graphite company CarbonScape (https://www.carbonscape.com).

Zoë Thomas received funding from the Australian Research Council.

Reposted with permission from conversation.

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