Researchers create computer simulations of primordial black holes striking the Earth

Mar 23, 2012 by Bob Yirka report
This artist's concept shows a galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its core. The black hole is shooting out jets of radio waves. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- Black holes have captured the imagination of scientists and amateur enthusiasts for years. The idea of some dark entity out there in the far reaches of space sucking up anything and everything that ventures near with such power and force that even light can’t escape it’s clutches, both enthralls and terrifies. Thus, the idea of one moving close enough to our planet would seem good reason to hit the panic button. But, in some cases, it appears, it might not be such a bad thing, at least if it were very, very small. That’s what one small group of researchers has concluded after simulating the effects of one tiny black hole hitting and passing through the Earth, on a computer. They have posted their ideas and conclusions on the preprint server arXiv.

The reason the research team began simulating minuscule and what impact they might have if they struck the Earth, is because they believe that such black holes, if they truly do exist, would have to have dark matter as one of its components. Thus, if they can prove that tiny black holes exist, such as by proving that they have left evidence behind when striking the Earth, they would have gone a long ways towards offering proof that dark matter exists. Something no one else thus far has been able to do.

The good news is that their simulations show that if such black holes did strike the Earth, the impact would be negligible, similar they say, to a very minor earthquake felt all over the planet. This is because they are so small, on the order of the diameter of atomic nuclei and travel so fast. They estimate it would take less than a minute for one to make it all the way through the and out the other side. The bad news, at least for researchers, is that such collisions are only predicted to occur every few million years or so.

But that’s not stopping the team from looking for evidence of past strikes. They note that the famous Tunguska impact in Siberia in 1908 hasn’t been fully explained. They point out that no comet ash has ever been found at the site and wonder if perhaps it was the result of a primordial black hole instead. Thus far, it doesn’t seem likely due to the lack of secondary signatures around what would have to be an exit wound on the other side of the world. But the idea that it could have been a black hole has other researchers intrigued which will likely lead to more research on other impact sites and perhaps proof that at least one of them, was indeed the result of a very tiny black hole passing through.

Explore further: Researchers engineer improvements of technology used in digital memory

More information: Detectable seismic consequences of the interaction of a primordial black hole with Earth, arXiv:1203.3806v1 [astro-ph.CO] arxiv.org/abs/1203.3806

Abstract
Galaxies observed today are likely to have evolved from density perturbations in the early universe. Perturbations that exceeded some critical threshold are conjectured to have undergone gravitational collapse to form primordial black holes (PBHs) at a range of masses. Such PBHs serve as candidates for cold dark matter and their detection would shed light on conditions in the early universe. Here we propose a mechanism to search for transits of PBHs through/nearby Earth by studying the associated seismic waves. Using a spectral-element method, we simulate and visualize this seismic wave field in Earth's interior. We predict the emergence of two unique signatures, namely, a wave that would arrive almost simultaneously everywhere on Earth's free surface and the excitation of unusual spheroidal modes with a characteristic frequency-spacing in free oscillation spectra. These qualitative characteristics are unaffected by the speed or proximity of the PBH trajectory. The seismic energy deposited by a proximal ${M^{PBH} = 10^{15}}$ g PBH is comparable to a magnitude $M_w=4$ earthquake. The non-seismic collateral damage due to the actual impact of such small PBHs with Earth would be negligible. Unfortunately, the expected collision rate is very low even if PBHs constituted all of dark matter, at ${sim 10^{-7} {yr}^{-1}}$, and since the rate scales as ${1/M^{PBH}}$, fortunately encounters with larger, Earth-threatening PBHs are exceedingly unlikely. However, the rate at which non-colliding close encounters of PBHs could be detected by seismic activity alone is roughly two orders of magnitude larger --- that is once every hundred thousand years --- than the direct collision rate.

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User comments : 37

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Going
5 / 5 (12) Mar 23, 2012
"Unfortunately, the expected collision rate is very low ..." Surely taking objective scientific interest a bit too far.
Ophelia
5 / 5 (9) Mar 23, 2012
"Thus far, it doesnt seem likely due to the lack of secondary signatures around what would have to be an exit wound on the other side of the world."

Wouldn't you have to know the trajectory to know where, in the first place, the "exit wound" would be? How would you search for such otherwise?
yyz
5 / 5 (8) Mar 23, 2012
"Wouldn't you have to know the trajectory to know where, in the first place, the "exit wound" would be?"

Study of the blast event allowed for an approximate trajectory through the Earth to be determined, leading to a prediction of an exit point in the North Atlantic Ocean, in a 1973 Nature article by Jackson and Ryan: http://www.nature...8a0.html

Examination of microbarograph records from that time (from the same instruments btw that recorded the initial blast event half a world away) failed to show any comparable disturbance around the time of the predicted 'exit': http://www.vurdal...ar04.htm
Callippo
1.2 / 5 (23) Mar 23, 2012
In AWT the universe is steady state and the the only primordial black holes which do exist are the common atom nuclei.
bewertow
5 / 5 (15) Mar 23, 2012
In AWT the universe is steady state and the the only primordial black holes which do exist are the common atom nuclei.


Please stop posting this annoying crap about your crazy hypothesis.
RitchieGuy
1 / 5 (5) Mar 23, 2012
This research is based on pure conjecture. What size exit hole could a tiny black hole possibly make, if there was such a thing as tiny black holes? Probably not as big as the exit hole a bullet from a .45 semiautomatic makes in comparison. Perhaps a black hole of any size would only make an exit hole the same size as the hole where it enters.
RitchieGuy
1.2 / 5 (19) Mar 23, 2012
In AWT the universe is steady state and the the only primordial black holes which do exist are the common atom nuclei.


Please stop posting this annoying crap about your crazy hypothesis.


@FrankHerbert. . .you have already taken up room in this thread just by posting your opposition and attempt to censor another's comment and opinion. Your opposition to it is well understood; your censorship is not.
Callippo
1.4 / 5 (14) Mar 23, 2012
Please stop posting this annoying crap about your crazy hypothesis.
Primordial black holes are hypothesis instead, as we never observed them. It's a product of overemployment of theoretical physics, which leads into development of redundant theories. The negation of these facts will not make you smarter.
Callippo
1.3 / 5 (13) Mar 23, 2012
The same situation exists with LHC at Cern, where microblack holes are searched extensively too. These collisions produced many artificial atoms and antiatoms, but no evidence of black holes. Fortunately these thingies don't exist, they just do follow from general relativity, when quantum effects are ignored.
Silverhill
5 / 5 (7) Mar 23, 2012
Callippo:
In AWT the universe is steady state and the the only primordial black holes which do exist are the common atom nuclei.
If these "nuclear black holes" have the same gravitational properties as "Einsteinian" black holes -- do they? -- then phenomena such as alpha, beta, and gamma emission would be impossible.
Callippo
1.3 / 5 (13) Mar 23, 2012
Einsteinian black holes are abstract idealized construct. No Einsteinian black hole radiates the alpha, beta, and gamma emission, because the only thing which general relativity predicts for them is their collapse into singularity. If general relativity would be valid, then all matter would collapse into these singularities already.

But there is another theory: quantum mechanics and this theory predicts exactly the opposite things. In quantum mechanics all objects are quantum wave packets governed with Schrodinger equation and this equation predict, they should expand into infinity instead.

Apparently both theories are violated heavily in this extent: QM lacks gravity, whereas the general relativity doesn't recognize anything but gravity. But observable objects are stable and both theories are compensating mutually for them. Mainstream physics handles this paradox with introduction of three additional ad-hoced forces, which are providing metastable equilibrium for massive objects.
Callippo
1 / 5 (6) Mar 23, 2012
This approach works, but it's dependent to many experimentally determined constants and it's apparently unsatisfying. From this reason the physicists are developing various quantum gravity theories, for example with assumption of extradimensions. The introduction of extradimensions stabilizes the black holes and it prevents both their fast evaporation, both collapse in certain extent. http://news.scien...-01.html
Jitterbewegung
not rated yet Mar 23, 2012
Interesting paper, now doing a quick back of the envelope. A black hole the size of an atom would weigh about 65 trillion tons, that is equal to a few billion Mt Everests or equal to a smaller version of the 95 trillion ton Prometheus one of Saturn's moons.

I would love to see an animation of the Earth as it passed through and how this much extra gravity contorted the atmosphere and rocks as it passed through them.
Jitterbewegung
2 / 5 (1) Mar 23, 2012
PS. A BH of nucleus size would weigh about 6.7billion tons so would be about 2 Mt Everests.
Jitterbewegung
not rated yet Mar 23, 2012
Pps make that 2 thousand Mt Everests.
Urgelt
5 / 5 (2) Mar 24, 2012
Tunguska is fairly well explained by a cometary (dirty snowball) impact. The authors point to no evidence of a black hole impact there (or anywhere, actually), and ignore evidence turned up by Russian researchers supporting a cometary explanation for Tunguska (Vladimir Alexeev and others, Suslov Crater, 2010).

If the authors are right about persistent and tiny primordial black holes, then Hawking Radiation is disproved. That's a big deal in physics. But they got to that conclusion entirely by assumptions.

Failing grade. They ought to have at least consulted scientific work on Tunguska before assuming away all mundane explanations for it.
ubavontuba
2 / 5 (8) Mar 24, 2012
in a 1973 Nature article by Jackson and Ryan:
My first thought was to point out this is an old hypothesis, but yyz beat me out. This hypothesis was largely replaced by the exploding comet/meteoroid hypothesis.

From the article:
They point out that no comet ash has ever been found at the site...
This is false.

"The (PBH) hypothesis also fails to account for evidence that cosmic material was deposited by the extraterrestrial body, including dust trails in the atmosphere and the distribution of high-nickel magnetic spherules around the impact area."

http://en.wikiped...ack_hole

and from Nature:

http://www.nature...5a0.html
Mastoras
5 / 5 (1) Mar 24, 2012
If Tunguska was hit by a black hole, shouldn't the surrounding atmosphere and trees be pulled inwards, instead of outwards?

(I admit, though, that I haven't fully understand the size of the black holes that the article talks about).
-.
Eoprime
5 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2012
MODS could we get callippo banned for spamming? Nobody cares about AWT, for a good reason.
Callippo
1 / 5 (8) Mar 24, 2012
Eoprime: You just don't understand the stuff, that's all. Many theorists are considering all particles as a black holes already. http://www.techno...v/23530/ http://www.vmig-i...ions.pdf

Why I should be banned for ideas, which are presented at PO too? http://www.physor...121.html
Callippo
1.5 / 5 (8) Mar 24, 2012
Nobody cares about AWT, for a good reason.
Nobody of mainstream physicists does care about cold fusion as well. Their reason is gooda and well substantiated too - not to lost the job position in existing research. But I'm not sure, whether this reason is sufficiently ethical.
Jitterbewegung
not rated yet Mar 24, 2012
"Many theorists are considering all particles as a black holes already."

Electrons can be described as singularities in the electric field.
Lurker2358
2 / 5 (4) Mar 24, 2012
richie:

A black hole with a radius similar to an atom would in fact have a mass of 1 to 10 trillion kilograms.

It might not destroy the planet or a continent, but it would leave a pretty significant scar both on entry and exit, not to mention having some very, very freaky effects on both the atmosphere and the tectonic forces of the earth.

When it enters the atmosphere and the crust, it would be likely to produce a massive fireball from nuclear fusion and particle collisions in it's microscopic accretion disk as the molecules would get whipped around and slammed into one another at nearly light speed.

It would be locally catastrophic, maybe even regionally catastrophic at both the entry and exit point, even if it was moving at extra-galactic velocities.
MandoZink
5 / 5 (5) Mar 24, 2012
Lurker,

I did notice they said "diameter of atomic nuclei" and not the radius of an atom. That would make it a LOT smaller and significantly less dangerous.

I, too, wonder why EVERY discussion I read on PhysOrg has numerous repeated references to AWT. It's starting to sound a bit religious... kinda like a "belief system". GASP!
Callippo
1 / 5 (7) Mar 24, 2012
Excerpt from current last ten commented threads:

Study reveals why our ancestors switched to bipedal power - no AWT
Self-reflective mind: Psychologists report on continuing advances in animals - no AWT
Conservatism saved Iceland from catastrophe - no AWT
Nuclear fusion simulation shows high-gain energy output - no AWT
Mysterious objects at the edge of the electromagnetic spectrum - two remarks of AWT
Astronomers discover 'emerald-cut' galaxy - no AWT
Detection of cosmic effect may bring universe's formation into sharper focus - one remark of AWT
Hunters, not climate change, killed giant beasts 40,000 years ago - no AWT
Thermosolar power station in Spain works at night - no AWT
Astronomers put forward new theory on size of black holes - two remarks of AWT
These threads contain 446 comments in this moment, 24 comments of which are mine and five of which reference the "AWT" word.
Graeme
not rated yet Mar 24, 2012
Searching for impact scars may be much easier on the Moon, without surfaces constantly modified over time, or covered in water. It may have a resemblence to an ultra ultra high energy cosmic ray impact with an energy of giga or tera joules, It could end up as a shower of particles over a few meters that blast a hole into the earth.
Jack_J_Smith
1 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2012
this is like Startrek mumbo-jumbo

Jitterbewegung
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2012
"A black hole with a radius similar to an atom would in fact have a mass of 1 to 10 trillion kilograms."

How big is your atom?
Did I forget to carry a one again?

I used the calculator in the threshold mass section.

http://hyperphysi....html#c1

0.6739655068986203 x 10^9kg (673000 tons) = 1 x 10^-18m
Higgs

0.6739655068986203 x 10^11kg (67 million tons) = 1 x 10^-16m
Quarks

0.6739655068986203 x 10^13 kg = 1 x 10^-14 m
(6.7 billion tons) = nucleus

0.6739655068986203 x 10^17 kg= 1 x 10^-10 m
(67 trillion tons) = atom

Planck length
1.616199( 97)×1035 m

1.089262378284043 x 10^-10 kg
Ricochet
not rated yet Mar 26, 2012
Well... I guess it's nice to see some people haven't changed their antics in the time I was ignoring the Physorg comments... Perhaps, eventually, certain people will quit trying to shove their ideals down others' throats...
typicalguy
5 / 5 (3) Mar 27, 2012
I could have sworn the CERN people insisted that microscopic black holes were impossible and even if they were possible, Hawkings radiation would make them evaporate quickly. So these authors are suggesting two things. 1. There are extra dimensions, this allows you to get around that pesky plank scale which prevents the black holes from forming. 2. hawking radiation does not exist.

I'm sorry but I don't buy it. There are no micro BH's. If there were then nearly infinite numbers would have been created at the big bang and there would be little or nothing except BH's in the universe.
RitchieGuy
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2012
Depending on the distance between them if they actually existed, micro BH's would most likely all join together after some time and become one huge BH. Maybe that's what is residing there in the center of the Milky Way?
RitchieGuy
2 / 5 (4) Mar 28, 2012
Hey. . .speaking of AWT. . .perhaps if Callippo stopped using that "term" and just explained what the theory is if it has everything to do with the topic at hand, then no one would be so upset.
Could be that those 3 letters tend to set off an alarm system in people's heads where they wish to attack and bruise Callippo/Kendryl. For instance, if Ricochet kept repeating his "Black Hole Theory" every night and day 24/7, someone might want to hang him from a tree also.
My advice to Callippo. . .throw out the AWT reference and get on with the show. :)
DarkHorse66
5 / 5 (2) Mar 28, 2012
@RG Not so simple though. He utterly believes that this is what he is doing already, despite being repeatedly told (including by those who have taken a more serious in-depth look at it)that it was full of holes. Judging by the fervour with which he keeps pushing the same stuff down people's throats (and ignoring anything that doesn't fit), he appears to be on a missionary quest. Like most religious fanatics, he believes that if only he can push hard enough, he can convert by sheer tenacity/force. Reason does not seem to come into it. If it did, I suspect that he would have moderated his behaviour a while ago. At least it would have been a recognition of the fact that we all have a choice in what we are prepared to believe or want to be exposed to -and that that would by extension include not forcing others to be constantly subject to his choices, whether we want to or not. I wouldn't mind so much, if only he gave decent answers more often, that I could give credits/credence to. DH66
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 28, 2012
Depending on the distance between them if they actually existed, micro BH's would most likely all join together after some time and become one huge BH. Maybe that's what is residing there in the center of the Milky Way?
This is because micro BH's have a special affinity for each other that, say, stars with the same mass at the same distance from each other do not have. And so micro BH's would ignore all other gravitational influences as they blindly suck together toward the center of a galaxy.

They would have to suck with the same awesome power that ritchie does, in order to do this. This is the only way that this would be possible. Ritchie himself appears to be degenerating toward a singularity of infinite stupidity from whence nothing can escape.

That would suck wouldnt it ritchie? One can only hope.
Ricochet
not rated yet Apr 03, 2012
For instance, if Ricochet kept repeating his "Black Hole Theory" every night and day 24/7, someone might want to hang him from a tree also.
My advice to Callippo. . .throw out the AWT reference and get on with the show. :)


I didn't propose any Black Hole theory... unless you're talking about the one where the annoying people all fell into one in my absence... That one failed miserably, btw...
Kinedryl
1 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2012
Interesting hole in the Earth http://news.disco...318.html
Kinedryl
1 / 5 (1) Apr 06, 2012
..perhaps if Callippo stopped using that "term" and just explained what the theory is if it has everything to do with the topic at hand, then no one would be so upset..
This theory is explained at many places of the web. It considers, the Universe is composed of nested density fluctuations of infinitely dense particle stuff, which are similar to clouds or Perlin noise. We are living at certain level of these fluctuations. In brief, AWT considers, the Universe is random inertial matter. Such definition is probably as fuzzy, as a pure nonsense for ordinary people, but it may not appear so when you get into its deductions.

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