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Geologists Have Found the Pulse of the Earth!

by Sushree Mohanty

Geologists Have Found the Pulse of the Earth!

July 5, 2021

While investigating, geologists have witnessed a potential rhythmic pace in all geological events. The scientists of the 20th century had suggested that geological events follow a cyclic pattern. That exists in a range of 'pulses' of 26.2 to 30.6 million years.

Pulse of our Earth

Major geological events that had occurred in recent history have followed a pattern of 27.5 million years. Scientists have now named this pattern the “Pulse of the Earth.” The geological events include a series of extinctions like the Aquatic, earth-bound extinctions, and Triassic-Jurassic extinctions. The ocean-anoxic events, sea-level fluctuations, and global pulses of intraplate magmatism are also dynamic events that might cause the pulse to occur.  

Michael Rampino, Professor in Biology and Environmental Studies department at New York University, the lead author of the new study, suggests the geologists have wondered for a long time about the existence of a cyclic pattern of around 30 million years in the geological record.

However, recently occurring events have made the phenomenon and the hypothesis a bit difficult to research and study quantitatively. Prof. Rampino and his group conducted a quantitative analysis to research whether the geological events follow an underlying pattern or are indeed random occurrences.

pulse-of-the-earth-scoolbuzz
The scientists of the 20th century had suggested that geological events follow a cyclic pattern. That exists in a range of 'pulses' of 26.2 to 30.6 million years.

Fourier Analysis shows the Spectral Peak at 27.5 Million Years

Back in time, when the catastrophic mass- extinction occurred on our planet Earth around 260 million years ago, major geological events from the changes in the sea levels to dynamic volcanic eruptions had followed a rhythmic pace that the scientists are now curiously talking about.

While reviewing the literature of the past 260 million years, the researchers found that 89 major geological events had occurred. These events included devastating mass extinctions, sea-level fluctuations, ocean anoxic events due to oxygen depletion, dynamic changes in Earth’s tectonic plates, and volcanic eruptions resulting in flood-basalt eruptions.

More interesting information popped up as the team of researchers studied these events in chronological order.  They used Fourier analysis, a mathematical application, to analyze the periodic waveform and frequency of geological events. 

Based on the Fourier analysis, researchers discovered that the spectral peak of these past geological events is at 27.5 million years. Prof. Rampino explains that the number gathered from such an analysis might not be “exact,” however, it is estimated with a 96% confidence interval, and it’s “unlikely to be a coincidence.”  

Prof. Rampino and his team are a little doubtful about the exact numbers as they have analyzed the events of the past 260 million years ago. They are hopeful that they might get more accurate results if they further extend the study to a few million years back in history.

The researchers are curious to dig deeper to discover the reasons behind what’s causing a pulse or the geological heartbeat. They think that it could be due to the movements driven by the changes in the tectonic plates and events inside Earth’s mantle.

Prof. Rampino also wonders that such a geological rhythmic pattern could be associated with the Earth-orbiting around the Sun and events occurring in our Solar System.

Can Astronomical Movements Cause the Pulse of the Earth?

According to a study, “the 27.5 million year pulse is close enough to the 32 million years vertical oscillation around the midplane of the galaxy.”

According to a theory, the solar system tends to move through larger amounts of dark matter present inside the galaxy. When planet Earth moves through such larger amounts of dark matter, it tends to absorb the dark matter. 

Prof. Rampino believes that this theory can be associated with the geological heartbeat or the pulse of the Earth that is likely to be produced by geological heating when the dark matter is absorbed and annihilated. 

He says “Perhaps this interaction with large amounts of dark matter correlates with the pulse of the Earth”. However, this theory about dark matter isn’t enough to bring on a hypothesis around it. Scientists are still aware of how dark matter has been distributed in our solar system.

Prof. Rampino and his team are hoping to find better results on certain geological events and analyze the history of the geological events that have occurred back in time. However, they assume that there might be some relation between the astronomical movements and geological cycles.

The Earth has witnessed a rhythmic pattern of 27.5 million years named ‘the Pulse of the Earth.’ However, the last cluster was between 7 million to 10 million years ago, and Mother Earth’s heart would likely beat in the next 15 to 20 million years.

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