New evidence suggests Earth includes a 27.5 million year geological activity cycle
A fresh study has been published by researchers at NYU that investigates geological activity on the planet over massive timescales. Researchers analyzed 260 million years of major geological events and found clusters that recur at an interval of 27.5 million years. The geologists say the planet earth follows the 27.5 million year cycle giving the earth a kind of pulse.
Many geologists think that geological events are random as time passes, however the new study suggests evidence for a standard cycle. The brand new evidence, in accordance with geologist and professor in the NYU Department of biology, Michael Rampino, shows that there’s a common cycle and the geologic events are correlated rather than random. Within the last five decades, researchers have proposed cycles for major geological events, including volcanic activity and mass extinctions on land and sea that ranged from roughly 26 to 36 million years back.
However, focus on the first correlations in the geological record was hampered by limitations in the capability to age-date geologic events. Significant improvements in radio-isotopic dating techniques and changes in the geologic timescale have resulted in new data for the timing of past events. Rampino and colleagues compiled the updated records for the major events during the last 260 million years utilizing the latest age-dating records.
Researchers analyzed the ages of 89 well-dated major geological events from the final 260 million years. The events included marine and land extinctions, major volcanic outpourings of lava called flood-basalt eruptions, events where oceans were depleted of oxygen, sea-level fluctuations, and changes or reorganizations in the Earth’s tectonic plates.
Researchers found the major geologic events are clustered at ten different time points over 260 million years grouped in peaks or pulses approximately 27.5 million years apart. The newest cluster of events was 7 million years back, suggesting another major pulse of geological activity is a lot more than 20 million years in the foreseeable future.