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Earth Follows a 27.5-million-year Cycle

Massive, planet-impacting events are largely thought to happen randomly over time. According to a recent paper published in the journal Geoscience Frontiers, a study of ancient geological events suggests that Earth follows a 27.5-million-year cycle. This indicates that our planet has an extremely slow and steady pulse of catastrophic events.

This geological activity keeps the time and the geologic events are correlated. Notably, they include volcanic activity, mass extinctions, plate reorganizations, and sea level rises. This study was made possible thanks to substantial advancements in radio-isotopic dating methods since early work was impeded by limitations.A team of scientists led by Michael Rampino, a geologist and professor in New York University’s Department of Biology, collected records of major geological events over the last 260 million years and conducted new analyses using the most recent age-dating data available.

The researchers looked at the ages of 89 well-dated major geological events over the previous 260 million years. That also includes times of marine and non-marine extinctions, major ocean-anoxic events, continental flood-basalt eruptions, sea-level fluctuations, global pulses of intraplate magmatism, and times of changes in seafloor-spreading rates and plate reorganizations.

The researchers discovered that these worldwide occurrences are usually clustered at 10 distinct time points, grouped in peaks or pulses roughly 27.5 million years apart. They saw that the most recent cluster of geological events was 7 million years ago. This suggests that the next big geological event will occur in the next 20 million years.According to the researchers, these pulses might be a result of cycles of activity in the Earth interior. Similar cycles in the orbit in Earth space, on the other hand, might also be timing these occurrences.

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