(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have discovered a surprising link between the number of supernovae exploding nearby and life on Earth.
The found evidence points to a close relationship between the proportion of organic matter in sedimentary rocks and changes in the frequency of supernovae. This correlation has been observed for 3.5 billion years and has become even more pronounced in the last 500 million years.
The presence of such a correlation indicates that supernovae caused the formation of conditions conducive to the origin and maintenance of life on Earth. This is the conclusion reached by the authors of a new article led by Dr. Henrik Svensmark from the Technical University of Denmark.
The explanation for the observed link between supernovae and life on Earth, according to the work, is that supernovae affect the Earth’s climate. A large number of supernovae cause the formation of a cold climate with a significant temperature difference between the equator and the polar regions.
This leads to powerful winds and mixing of water in the oceans, resulting in increased efficiency in the delivery of nutrients to biological systems. A higher concentration of nutrients leads to a higher productivity of biological systems and a larger deposition of organic matter with sedimentary rocks.
Warmer climates are characterized by less powerful winds and less efficient mixing of water in the oceans, reducing the flow of nutrients, reducing the rate of biomass accumulation,
In their work, Svensmark and his colleagues analyzed the content of organic matter in sedimentary rocks using the method of radioisotope analysis. Since life prefers the lighter nuclide carbon-12, an increase in the C12 / C13 ratio in the composition of sedimentary rock means an increase in the amount of biomass produced.
Previous research by Svensmark’s group has shown that cosmic rays emitted from supernovae can affect the structure of clouds on Earth, thereby affecting the planet’s climate.
The work was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
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