The 27.5-million-year cycle of geological activity

Posted: June 20, 2021 by oldbrew in Cycles, Geology, History, paleo, research, solar system dynamics
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EarthspaceScientists previously proposed 26 million year cycles of mass extinctions, but this appears to correct the period. They suggest ‘cycles of activity in the Earth’s interior’ could be behind their new period, but then say: ‘However, similar cycles in the Earth’s orbit in space might also be pacing these events.’ Their study also says ‘a strong secondary signal occurs at a period 8.9 Myr’.
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Geologic activity on Earth appears to follow a 27.5-million-year cycle, giving the planet a ‘pulse,’ according to a new study published in the journal Geoscience Frontiers. Phys.org reporting.

“Many geologists believe that geological events are random over time. But our study provides statistical evidence for a common cycle, suggesting that these geologic events are correlated and not random,” said Michael Rampino, a geologist and professor in New York University’s Department of Biology, as well as the study’s lead author.

Over the past five decades, researchers have proposed cycles of major geological events—including volcanic activity and mass extinctions on land and sea—ranging from roughly 26 to 36 million years.

But early work on these correlations in the geological record was hampered by limitations in the age-dating of geologic events, which prevented scientists from conducting quantitative investigations.

However, there have been significant improvements in radio-isotopic dating techniques and changes in the geologic timescale, leading to new data on the timing of past events. Using the latest age-dating data available, Rampino and his colleagues compiled updated records of major geological events over the last 260 million years and conducted new analyses.

The team analyzed the ages of 89 well-dated major geological events of the last 260 million years. These events include marine and land extinctions, major volcanic outpourings of lava called flood-basalt eruptions, events when oceans were depleted of oxygen, sea-level fluctuations, and changes or reorganization in the Earth’s tectonic plates.

They found that these global geologic events are generally clustered at 10 different timepoints over the 260 million years, grouped in peaks or pulses of roughly 27.5 million years apart. The most recent cluster of geological events was approximately 7 million years ago, suggesting that the next pulse of major geological activity is more than 20 million years in the future.

The researchers posit that these pulses may be a function of cycles of activity in the Earth’s interior—geophysical processes related to the dynamics of plate tectonics and climate.

However, similar cycles in the Earth’s orbit in space might also be pacing these events.

“Whatever the origins of these cyclical episodes, our findings support the case for a largely periodic, coordinated, and intermittently catastrophic geologic record, which is a departure from the views held by many geologists,” explained Rampino.

Source here.

Comments
  1. hdhuffman says:

    The surface of the Earth was deliberately re-formed, globally (according to an utterly precise design, on a par with the most exacting modern science), only less than 20,000 years ago, and down to as late as 8-9 thousand years ago (when the Nile delta, and thus ancient Egypt, was formed, as even the Egyptian priests knew, and a few like Pythagoras, Solon and Plato were informed by them — the Great Sphinx was created to celebrate the event, precisely, and to memorialize the earlier global, and solar system (!), reformation).

    There is no globally valid geological science that goes back farther than 10-12 thousand years ago, when the Niagara Falls are known to have been created for example (the “end of the last ice age”, so consensus scientists mistakenly believe).

    Modern consensus science, particularly in the earth and life sciences (the “natural world”) is worthless at its “leading edge”, as has been well demonstrated in recent years. There is a new general paradigm at hand, with my work, replacing uniformitarianism and the extended Darwinian paradigm in science, and divine capriciousness and jealous coercion (i.e., tyranny) in religion.

    But no one wants to hear that. It used to be “It’s turtles, all the way down” among the smug students of ancient history. Now, it is avoidance behavior all the way down, across all of science.

  2. Gamecock says:

    ‘The team analyzed the ages of 89 well-dated major geological events of the last 260 million years.’

    ‘They found that these global geologic events are generally clustered at 10 different timepoints over the 260 million years, grouped in peaks or pulses of roughly 27.5 million years apart.’

    Any event that didn’t fit was thrown out. 89 used, how many did they start with?

    I agree with hdhuffman above, how can the Laurentide Ice Sheet not be considered a major geological event?

    BTW, marine and land extinctions, and oceans depleted of oxygen, are NOT geological events.

  3. pochas94 says:

    Here I thought the 60 Mya K-T extinction was a meteor strike (Chicxulub crater off the Yucatan). Could all of these 27.5 M year events be caused by the earth periodically entering a meteor rich region of space? That narrative would envision meteor strike(s) causing a rupture of the earth’s crust at the antipode of the strike with subsequent massive volcanism (e.g. Indian subcontinent) and tectonic activity.

  4. oldbrew says:

    “Whatever the origins of these cyclical episodes”

    Nobody knows, but the discussion section of the paper can be viewed here:
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674987121001092#s0035

    In the conclusions section the authors admit:
    The question of the precise lengths of the cycles, however, which may depend upon the statistical techniques utilized and differences in the various datasets, is still open.

  5. JB says:

    “Consensus science.” What an oxymoron if there ever was one. How would it be to make a living by teaching and proffering conjecture and never perform a single falsifiable test? Geologists, archaeologists, astronomers, and theoretical physicists, all in the same camp.

    When Robert Schock was in the news I looked up the geology curriculum at three major universities picked at random. I was not impressed. Compared to applied physics programs, graduates of these programs know essentially nothing. Learning/memorizing dogma is not knowing.

    I’ve not heard one soul in geology/astronomy include the change in quatized states of matter/energy as the galaxy ages. All of these cycles, tied to orbital behavior, are modified as the energy invested in the galaxy’s birth dissipates.

  6. oldbrew says:

    JB – re. ‘as the energy invested in the galaxy’s birth dissipates’

    E = mc2

    energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_of_energy

    That’s what they tell us, anyway.

  7. gbaikie says:

    It’s space aliens destroying Earth every “ranging from roughly 26 to 36 million years”.
    But probably since humans exist, they won’t want to get anywhere near Earth.
    Or maybe Gliese 710
    has space aliens, so in about million years it will be close to our solar system. Or Gliese 710 naturally has a lot large space rocks which will hit Earth.
    Wiki
    Gliese 710, or HIP 89825, is an orange 0.6 M star in the constellation Serpens Cauda.
    It is projected to pass near the Sun in a timeframe well within the parameters of current models which cover the next 15 million years. The predicted minimum distance will occur in about 1.281 million years, with Gaia DR2 suggesting a distance (slightly closer than previous estimates) of 0.0676 parsecs—0.221 light-years (14,000 astronomical units)—a distance about 20 times smaller than the current distance to Proxima Centauri, although the approach could be even closer.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gliese_710

    Or it might be good time to leave Earth, Gliese 710 could be a good way cruise through our galaxy- though others might also had same thought and not want the company.

  8. Curious George says:

    “The 27.5-million-year cycle of geological activity.” Not 27.4 or 27.6. Who are they kidding?

  9. Phoenix44 says:

    Sounds like p hacking.

    Move around your data until you get something with statistical significance.

  10. stpaulchuck says:

    isn’t that the period for the solar system’s porpoising through the galactic plane?

  11. oldbrew says:

    How often does the Sun pass through a spiral arm in the Milky Way?

    The period of oscillation in and out of the plane of the galaxy (up and down) is about 70 million years. This means that we pass through the Galactic midplane about every 35 million years which some people have compared with the period between mass extinctions on Earth to come up with yet another doomsday theory.

    http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/our-solar-system/55-our-solar-system/the-sun/the-sun-in-the-milky-way/207-how-often-does-the-sun-pass-through-a-spiral-arm-in-the-milky-way-intermediate

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