Researchers suggest a supernova triggered the Late Devonian mass extinction

Enlarge / The Cassiopeia A supernova which left this remnant behind occurred about 11,000 gentle years away—a lot too far to pose a big risk—and its wavefront doubtless reached Earth about 300 years in the past. (credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
A paper launched this week by College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign astronomy and physics professor Brian Fields makes a case for distant supernovae as a explanation for a previous mass extinction occasion—particularly, the Hangenberg occasion, which marks the boundary between the Devonian and Carboniferous durations. Fields has proposed this form of factor earlier than, and each this and his earlier piece are fascinating workouts of “what-if.” Every fashions the results a supernova may have on Earth’s biosphere, and the way we would go in search of proof that it occurred.
It is essential to grasp, nevertheless, that neither of those papers must be taken as indications that there’s proof that the occasions referenced had been brought on by a supernova, or as consultant of any normal scientific consensus to that impact. They’re merely intriguing proposals, and so they point out what kind of proof we must always search for.
Existential threats
In case you say “mass extinction” and “area” in the identical sentence, the very first thing on most peoples’ minds is an asteroid affect with the Earth—even when dinosaur followers consider the Chicxulub crater, and popular culture followers assume as an alternative of flicks equivalent to Deep Influence or Armageddon.Learn 12 remaining paragraphs | Feedback

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