Scientists Struggle to Understand What Causes the 27.5-Million-Year-Old “Heartbeat” of the Earth

Scientists Struggle to Understand What Causes the 27.5-Million-Year-Old “Heartbeat” of the Earth
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The world never stops amazing us with its geological activity, and it’s actually exciting that scientists struggle even in 2022 to understand more about what’s going on in our planet’s interior. But the mystery itself is what pushes the scientific quest even further.

As ScienceAlert.com reveals, the Earth has what it’s known as a “heartbeat” of geological activity that has lasted for over 27 million years. If that’s not surprising enough, you should keep in mind that nobody knows yet what’s causing it.

What the “heartbeat” actually is

The so-called heartbeat refers to disastrous geological activity such as volcanoes, mass extinctions, sea level rises, and more. It seems that we’re momentarily safe from the next “pulse,” which is expected to occur about 20 million years from now.

Scientists analyzed dozens of geological events occurring over the past 260 million years.

The researchers involved in studying the ” heartbeat” wrote:

These events include 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,

Our results suggest that global geologic events are generally correlated, and seem to come in pulses with an underlying ~27.5-million-year cycle.

While scientists can’t tell for sure at the moment what’s causing the almost 30 million year cyclicity, there are a few theories that deserve some level of interest. Some blame it on comet strikes, while others invoke Planet X as representing the cause. 

Planet X is none other than the hypothetical ninth planet from our Solar System that many astronomers suspect exists. There are only eight officially recognized planets in our Solar System, and each of them has its own particularities. The ninth planet, if it exists, should be located somewhere beyond the orbit of Neptune.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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