Tree rings chronicle a mysterious cosmic storm that hits Earth every thousand years

When radiation hits Earth’s atmosphere, it changes nitrogen atoms to produce a type of carbon, which is absorbed by plants, and attaching parts of this carbon isotope to tree growth rings can give us a reliable record of radiation storms going back thousands of years..

According to the website,RT‘This record shows us that the largest of these events, known as the miyake events (after the scientist who discovered them), occur about once every 1,000 years. A giant solar system can be elusive, and without an easy way to predict these potentially devastating events, we have a serious problem.

“We need to know more, because if one of these things happened today, it would destroy technology including satellites, internet cables, long-range power lines and switches,” says astrophysicist Benjamin Pope of the University of Queensland in Australia. The impact on global infrastructure would be irreversible. imagine it“.

The main clue lies in a radioactive isotope of carbon called carbon-14, often referred to as radiocarbon. Compared to other naturally occurring carbon isotopes on Earth, radioactive carbon is relatively rare. It is formed only in the upper atmosphere, when cosmic rays collide with nitrogen atoms, resulting in a nuclear reaction that produces radioactive carbon..

Because cosmic rays are constantly colliding with our atmosphere, we have a steady but very small supply of material raining down on the surface. Some are hung in tree rings. Because trees add a new growth ring each year, radiocarbon deposition can be traced through time, giving a record of radioactivity over tens of thousands of years. A huge rise in radiocarbon in trees around the world means a slight increase in cosmic radiation.

Because interpreting tree ring data requires a comprehensive understanding of the global carbon cycle, a team of researchers led by mathematician Chengyuan Zhang of the University of Queensland set out to reconstruct the global carbon cycle, based on every piece of tree ring radiocarbon data they could obtain.

“When radiation hits the atmosphere, it produces radioactive carbon-14, which filters the air, oceans, plants and animals, and produces an annual record of radiation in tree rings,” explains Zhang. “We designed the global carbon cycle to reconstruct the process over 10,000 years, to gain insight into the scale and nature of events miyake“.

The results of this modeling gave the team a very detailed picture of a number of radiative events – enough to conclude that the timing and profile do not correspond to solar flares. The spikes in radiocarbon are not related to sunspot activity, which is itself related to flare activity. Some of the increases persisted over several years.

There was a discrepancy in the radiocarbon profiles between regions for the same event. For one major event, recorded in AD 774, some trees in some parts of the world showed sharp and sudden rises in radiocarbon for one year, while others showed a slower rise over two to three years..

Researchers don’t know, at this point, what could have caused those explosions, but there are a number of candidates. One of these events is a supernova, the radiation from which can explode through space. It is possible that the supernova occurred in the year 774 AD, and scientists have established links between radiocarbon mutations and other possible supernova events, but we have known supernovae without radiocarbon mutations..

Other possible causes include solar superplanets, but it is unlikely that an explosion strong enough to produce high radiocarbon 774 M from our sun. There may have been some previously unrecorded solar activity. But the truth is that there is no simple explanation that accurately explains the causes of Miyake’s events.

This, according to the researchers, is a concern. The human world has changed dramatically since 774 AD. Now Miyake’s event could cause what scientists call an “internet apocalypse” in which infrastructure is damaged, health of air travelers and even the ozone layer is depleted.

Related Articles

Back to top button