A research team may have found a connection between the evolution of the Earth’s crust and the Earth’s path through the Milky Way. By analyzing rocks in Australia and Greenland, the group led by geologist Chris Kirkland from Curtin University in Perth has found a rhythm for the formation of the earth’s crust. This was therefore strengthened about every 200 million years.
The epochs match periods when the solar system traveled with Earth in areas of the Milky Way where stellar density was higher, they write. This could have sent more comets toward Earth from the far fringes of the solar system.
An “exciting connection”
Explanation of the connection found
(Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESO/R. Hurt/Kirkland et al.)
The celestial bodies would then have hit the earth more often, the research group now explains. As a result, the earth’s surface was increasingly melted every 200 million years, which, for example, formed the cores of the later continents. They found the rhythm by analyzing the age and isotopic signature of minerals from very old geological structures in western Australia and south-west Greenland. So it is not a regional phenomenon. The team has also linked several “geological events,” such as impact craters, to the solar system’s path through the Milky Way. The group published their research in the journal Geology.
If the find is confirmed, it would be an exciting connection between processes on Earth and the movement of our solar system through the galaxy, Kirkland classifies the work. So far, it has been generally assumed that the formation of the earth’s crust is driven solely by processes in the interior of our home planet. If the formation of the continents, the land masses on which we live and on which we find most of our natural resources, is linked to the passage of the solar system through the Milky Way, it would shed a completely new light on the history of our planet and its place in the cosmos .
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