HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Nearby supernova may have caused mini-extinction, scientists say

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The recent discovery of the rare radioactive isotope iron-60 in deep-sea sediments could be the telltale sign of a killer supernova, a University of Illinois researcher says.

"A nearby supernova would bathe our planet in high-energy particles -- cosmic rays -- with potentially disastrous effects," said Brian Fields, a visiting professor of astronomy at the U. of I. "Increased cosmic-ray bombardment could have affected Earth's biosphere by enhancing the penetration of harmful solar ultraviolet radiation and by increasing the global cloud cover, leading to a 'cosmic-ray winter' and a mini-extinction."

In a paper scheduled to appear in New Astronomy, Fields and colleague John Ellis, a theoretical physicist at CERN, claim the measured iron-60 abundance cannot be explained by known sources, but could be the radioactive ashes of a supernova -- the explosion of a massive star. This cataclysmic explosion occurred 100 light-years from Earth about 5 million years ago, Fields and Ellis estimate.

The scientists based their analysis upon iron-60 data collected by a German team led by Gunther Korschinek of the Technical University of Munich.

"If these data are confirmed, together with their extraterrestrial origin, the implications are profound," Fields said. "They would constitute the first direct evidence that a supernova occurred near Earth in the fairly recent geologic past, with detectable effects on our planet."

Those effects include a huge increase in global cloud cover and a dramatic decrease in the protective ozone layer.

"A correlation has been observed between solar activity -- namely the sunspot cycle -- and the extent of Earth's cloud cover," Fields said. "Some researchers believe this correlation is due to modulation of the normal cosmic-ray flux observed today, caused by variations in the solar wind."

The enhanced cosmic-ray bombardment from a nearby supernova could create a large increase in global cloud cover, Fi
'"/>

Contact: James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor
kloeppel@uiuc.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2-Aug-1999


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Ancient supernova may have triggered eco-catastrophe
2. Climate change plus human pressure caused large mammal extinctions in late Pleistocene
3. New evidence says Earths greatest extinction caused by ancient meteorite
4. Widespread cannibalism may have caused prehistoric prion disease epidemics, Science study suggests
5. Cell density determines extent of damage caused by cigarette smoke exposure
6. Prion disease may be caused by buildup of cellular trash, say Stanford researchers
7. Environmental enrichment reverses learning impairments caused by lead poisoning
8. The effects of human-caused atmospheric changes on tropical forests
9. The greening of the North: real, and caused by climate change
10. Widespread amphibian deformities caused by parasite
11. River blindness caused by bacteria, not worms, suggesting antibiotic treatment for the disease, Science researchers say

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/30/2020)... LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2020 , ... ... some of the world’s biggest challenges in agriculture and aquaculture with the mission of ... eight presenters at the 2020 F&A Next ' Next Heroes in Food- and Ag-Tech ...
(Date:4/28/2020)... SEATTLE, and FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (PRWEB) , ... ... ... announces its official launch. The first-of-its-kind category-defining service was started by three teenagers ... to make a change in the world during the time of great need ...
(Date:4/23/2020)... ... April 23, 2020 , ... Despite the current COVID-19 environment, ... products for the animal feed, human consumption, wastewater, and biotech sectors, and demand ... channels from overseas competitors have become weakened or shut down completely, new inquiries ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/30/2020)... ... May 29, 2020 , ... ... device, diagnostics, and animal health markets, has enabled Cytovale, Inc., a medical technology ... and machine learning, to achieve their first patient in (FPI) in just seven ...
(Date:5/28/2020)... ... 28, 2020 , ... The Security Industry Association (SIA) and ... of the Women in Biometrics Awards – a globally recognized program co-founded ... and the SIA Women in Security Forum . The honorees will be ...
(Date:5/21/2020)... Eden Prairie, MN (PRWEB) , ... May 19, 2020 , ... ... solution to help patients get dental implants and bone grafting through PIEZOSURGERY® ... surrounding tissues. This is often used to prepare a patient for dental implants, especially ...
(Date:5/15/2020)... ... May 14, 2020 , ... RoosterBio ... banks and hMSC bioprocess systems, today announced the launch of its product ... vesicles (EVs). RoosterCollect™-EV-CC is the only system designed with hMSC-EV product developers ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: