Does dark matter cause mass extinctions and geologic upheavals?

February 19, 2015
A massive cluster of yellowish galaxies, seemingly caught in a red and blue spider web of eerily distorted background galaxies, makes for a spellbinding picture from the new Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. To make this unprecedented image of the cosmos, Hubble peered straight through the center of one of the most massive galaxy clusters known, called Abell 1689. The gravity of the cluster's trillion stars — plus dark matter — acts as a 2-million-light-year-wide lens in space. This gravitational lens bends and magnifies the light of the galaxies located far behind it. Some of the faintest objects in the picture are probably over 13 billion light-years away (redshift value 6). Strong gravitational lensing as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope in Abell 1689 indicates the presence of dark matter. Credit: NASA, N. Benitez (JHU), T. Broadhurst (Racah Institute of Physics/The Hebrew University), H. Ford (JHU), M. Clampin (STScI),G. Hartig (STScI), G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory), the ACS Science Team and ESA

Research by New York University Biology Professor Michael Rampino concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our Galaxy's disc may have a direct and significant effect on geological and biological phenomena occurring on Earth. In a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, he concludes that movement through dark matter may perturb the orbits of comets and lead to additional heating in the Earth's core, both of which could be connected with mass extinction events.

The Galactic disc is the region of the Milky Way Galaxy where our solar system resides. It is crowded with stars and clouds of gas and dust, and also a concentration of elusive dark matter—small subatomic particles that can be detected only by their gravitational effects.

Previous studies have shown that Earth rotates around the disc-shaped Galaxy once every 250 million years. But the Earth's path around the Galaxy is wavy, with the Sun and planets weaving through the crowded disc approximately every 30 million years. Analyzing the pattern of the Earth's passes through the Galactic disc, Rampino notes that these disc passages seem to correlate with times of comet impacts and mass extinctions of life. The famous comet strike 66 million ago that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs is just one example.

What causes this correlation between Earth's passes through the Galactic disc, and the impacts and extinctions that seem to follow?

While traveling through the disc, the dark matter concentrated there disturbs the pathways of comets typically orbiting far from the Earth in the outer Solar System, Rampino observes. This means that comets that would normally travel at great distances from the Earth instead take unusual paths, causing some of them to collide with the planet.

But even more remarkably, with each dip through the disc, the dark matter can apparently accumulate within the Earth's core. Eventually, the annihilate each other, producing considerable heat. The heat created by the annihilation of dark matter in Earth's core could trigger events such as volcanic eruptions, mountain building, magnetic field reversals, and changes in sea level, which also show peaks every 30 million years. Rampino therefore suggests that astrophysical phenomena derived from the Earth's winding path through the Galactic disc, and the consequent accumulation of dark matter in the planet's interior, can result in dramatic changes in Earth's geological and biological activity.

His model of dark matter interactions with the Earth as it cycles through the Galaxy could have a broad impact on our understanding of the geological and biological development of Earth, as well as other planets within the Galaxy.

"We are fortunate enough to live on a planet that is ideal for the development of complex life," Rampino says. "But the history of the Earth is punctuated by large scale extinction events, some of which we struggle to explain. It may be that dark matter - the nature of which is still unclear but which makes up around a quarter of the universe - holds the answer. As well as being important on the largest scales, dark matter may have a direct influence on life on Earth."

In the future, he suggests, geologists might incorporate these astrophysical findings in order to better understand events that are now thought to result purely from causes inherent to the Earth. This model, Rampino adds, likewise provides new knowledge of the possible distribution and behaviour of within the Galaxy.

Explore further: New study confirms the presence of dark matter in the inner part of the Milky Way

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Gigel
3.2 / 5 (10) Feb 19, 2015
If DM can accumulate at the core of planets and stars, then maybe measuring the luminosity and mass of stars at different distances from the center of galaxies may reveal a shift in the luminosity which may give an estimation for the rate of energy production from DM accumulation.
ubavontuba
3.3 / 5 (14) Feb 19, 2015
OMG! Zephyr was ...right?

Hey, maybe it's causing the global warming too! LOL

I once read a cool sci-fi story about people becoming super intelligent and godlike after earth moves beyond a galactic electromagnetic suppression field. They leave earth and a formally mentally challenged man (now a genius) is left behind to assist the now sentient animals. I can't remember the name or the author though. So I guess it hasn't worked on me...

movementiseternal
Feb 19, 2015
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movementiseternal
Feb 19, 2015
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movementiseternal
Feb 19, 2015
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bbbbwindows
2.9 / 5 (15) Feb 19, 2015
Dark matter has not been shown to exist either experimentally or by observation. To use it as a cause of anything shows poor judgment and has more to do with religion than science. I can believe in dark matter and "god" with equal certainty.
In fact, the foundations of the "standard" model all have yet to be proven. The big bang, black holes, neutron stars, dark matter and nuclear fusion within stars are theoretical concepts that have yet to be proven or observed. Yet these "gospels" are treated as if they were scientific facts. They are not.
It is more likely that these concepts are not correct. Chandra is confirming the work of Halton Arp from the Max Planck Institute (and a student of Edmund Hubble). His book "Seeing Red" gave substantial proof that red shift is an intrinsic property of age and not distance/velocity. This one fact will invalidate the big bang and inflation. The newest data is also confirming that electromagnetism not gravity is the universal "driving force".
movementiseternal
Feb 19, 2015
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movementiseternal
Feb 19, 2015
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dogbert
2.5 / 5 (13) Feb 19, 2015
Dark matter is a kludge created when we noted that our models of gravity did not match our observations of the movement of stars in galaxies (the stars move so fast, our models say they should escape their galaxies).

One of the problems with such a kludge is that otherwise bright people begin to actually believe the kludge is real.

Once you believe in imaginary mass, you get articles like this one.
alfie_null
4.7 / 5 (13) Feb 19, 2015
OMG! Zephyr was ...right?

Hey, maybe it's causing the global warming too! LOL

I once read a cool sci-fi story about people becoming super intelligent and godlike after earth moves beyond a galactic electromagnetic suppression field. They leave earth and a formally mentally challenged man (now a genius) is left behind to assist the now sentient animals. I can't remember the name or the author though. So I guess it hasn't worked on me...

Brain Wave, by Poul Anderson.
Returners
3.2 / 5 (13) Feb 19, 2015
While traveling through the disc, the dark matter concentrated there


The hypothesis of Dark Matter is not needed to explain the phenomenon. Normal stellar and inter-stellar interactions explain that. encounters with nebula, stars, rogue planets or rogue comets explain that...normal geology explains that.

But even more remarkably, with each dip through the disc, the dark matter can apparently accumulate within the Earth's core.


Take a geology class for God's sake, or read an encyclopedia. The density of the ORDINARY MATTER in Earth's interior is known pretty well due to decades and decades of seismic monitoring and there is no "missing mass".

If there was an annihilation reaction going on inside of Earth there would be such reactions inside all planets and dwarf planets. Stuff like Ceres wouldn't freeze, and Jupiter would be blazing hot through and through.

Annihilation is 100 times more powerful than Fusion.

Returners
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 19, 2015
Okay, Okay...He's a BIOLOGY professor.

Yay...Obviously they give away biology degrees to people who are clueless about physics, chemistry, and geology...

Which university did he graduate from? I want to go get a few free biology degrees over the weekend.
HannesAlfven
3.2 / 5 (11) Feb 19, 2015
Junk Science, Oh My!!! When you refuse to question the existing models, I guess all that's available is to make stuff up ... But, hm, meanwhile, we've seen meteorites embedded into what appear to be ice age mammoth tusks (8 instances, Firestone, et al), so ... There are probably real-world consequences to treating science like science fiction.
Benni
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 19, 2015
So many conclusions, such as:

"While traveling through the disc, the dark matter concentrated there disturbs the pathways of comets typically orbiting far from the Earth in the outer Solar System, Rampino observes. This means that comets that would normally travel at great distances from the Earth instead take unusual paths, causing some of them to collide with the planet."

This guy has even figured out the causation of the pathways of comets based on something for which he thinks we should take judicial notice as we do the rising & setting of the Sun.

hemitite
5 / 5 (5) Feb 19, 2015
Hey, I figured it out! Dark energy is really the pressure of aether crammed into the 4th dimension by the negative energy emitted by dark matter particles! Now all I have to do is publish my theory in Nature and wait for that phone call from Stockholm....
barakn
3.9 / 5 (11) Feb 19, 2015
http://mnras.oxfo...32afc3f7

And could you all please Report each and every post by the prolific spammer movementiseternal. ?
El_Nose
4 / 5 (9) Feb 19, 2015
wait wait wait....

please step in on this ...

we now know that dark matter self annihilates???

But even more remarkably, with each dip through the disc, the dark matter can apparently accumulate within the Earth's core. Eventually, the dark matter particles annihilate each other, producing considerable heat.


not only that .. but it produces heat... but this self annihilation doesn't happen anywhere else where it could be observable -- like those huge patches of dark matter we know exists from their gravitational microlensing effect ... not only that -- but the heat produced is so large that the compressed liquid iron core of our planet gets a hiccup distributing the heat ???

It could be that i just missed the papers that led up to these types of statements ....

but who know i am not a physicist

so

sounds legit...
...
...
El_Nose
3.5 / 5 (4) Feb 19, 2015
wait a second

----

why do we use gravitational lensing to indicate DM if self annihilation DM why not look for empty heat signatures

--
link to extinction events we know of --- they are so very frequent that almost any periodic that is M yr long can be assigned ... perturbing a comets path might take millions of years to even get it close to earth.

http://en.wikiped...on_event

we can only 'see' this half of the milky way cause the galactic core is kinda in the way of seeing the other half at best we can see 60% of our path around the milky way.

so the loop takes 250 M yrs -- we can see about 150 My -- 75 each way so if lets say 15 M is the distance to the last DM cloud and 15 til the next then we somehow detected 2 more clouds in each direction -- though the other DM clouds --

i just --- i am calling this he found some DM clouds in our path around the sun ---- then extreme extrapolation.
mytwocts
4.4 / 5 (7) Feb 19, 2015
And its not even April 1 yet !
TheOrphan
1 / 5 (4) Feb 19, 2015
I agree with the basic premise, our solar system will likely encounter varied degrees of low G particle masses. The pressure of these masses is what would affect out core temp.

But, I don't think they annihilate, the energy is a product of friction based on the pressure and density.

Low G particle formations a extremely persistent, and I don't believe they can be annihilated.

If these high pressure zones affect comets, then it would be a friction reaction, although these masses do exhibit low Gravity fields, the actual effect would be much less than conventional elemental matter based Gravity.
DarkLordKelvin
3.5 / 5 (11) Feb 19, 2015
wait wait wait....

please step in on this ...

we now know that dark matter self annihilates???


Well, it has been hypothesized that DM particles are supersymmetric WIMPs, in which case they could self-annihilate, releasing energy. See http://www.worlds...05017391

not only that .. but it produces heat... but this self annihilation doesn't happen anywhere else where it could be observable -- like those huge patches of dark matter we know exists from their gravitational microlensing effect ...


Well, the paper I linked explicitly mentioned indirect detection via radiation released during the putative annihilation events.

However, I do share some of your skepticism that a biology prof has sufficient mastery of all this stuff to propose the mechanisms laid out in this paper. On the other hand, the paper passed peer review, so I'll tend to give it the benefit of the doubt until real flaws are found by experts.
Mimath224
3 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2015
Please, someone help me on this! Let's say that 80% exists as DM, just a rounded figure. Would it be reasonable to say this is an 'average' distribution? If that were so then wouldn't all the DM in our SS have produced this heat energy a long time ago thus making Earth much hotter than it is now? Also why doesn't the DM heat up the frozen bodies in the SS...or is the article suggesting that DM is 'selective' in some way?
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
1.9 / 5 (7) Feb 20, 2015
There are periodical changes that affects climate and so geology (say, erosion), so that side of the analysis may be sound.

But those geological changes seem insufficient to affect extinction rates much. When paleontologists auto-correlate enough data they can reject periodicity in the observations. In fact, mass extinctions seems to be normal events in the sense that they are "more of the same".

I think Alroy's -08 paper is the latest and definitive compilation [but note that I am a layman]:

"However, the trend may be driven by taxonomic biases and the rates vary in accord with a simple log normal distribution, so there is no sharp distinction between background and mass extinctions. Furthermore, the lack of any significant autocorrelation in the data is inconsistent with macroevolutionary theories of periodicity or self-organized criticality."

["Dynamics of origination and extinction in the marine fossil record", John Alroy, PNAS ]
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
1.9 / 5 (7) Feb 20, 2015
@Mimath: ~80 % of mass (or ~ 20 % of total energy) of the universe is Cold Dark Matter. So yes, it is spread around. Dark matter has mass (matter) and quite a lot per particle (cold), so it clumps with the cosmic filaments that galaxies tend to emerge in.

But it is not interacting much otherwise (dark), so it is a diffuse gas and pass through bodies with little in the way of concentrating in stars and planets. As a comparison, the amount of dark matter in the solar system is less than the average asteroid in mass.

And, WIMPs or not, the most they do is bump into atom nuclei every now and then and contribute the a minute heat spike. Roughly once a year a DM particle should hit a nucleus in your body.

Unless they annihilate with each other as WIMPs should do, something that seems hard to detect.
Funny Mommy
4 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2015
Almost certainly nonsense, Google for "Dark matter can give you cancer" and read the medium article that comes up. It contains links to papers where dark-matter interaction rates with humans have been estimated.

It's not that it doesn't happen, but it is EXCEEDINGLY more likely that other particles that fly around would influence us, the planet, and other planets. Ie, we'd long be extinct if it was even remotely true.
bluehigh
3.5 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2015
Does dark matter cause mass extinctions and geologic upheavals?
Feb 19, 2015

> No.

Does being a minor biology professor make you say stupid stuff for grant money?

> Yes.
DarkLordKelvin
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 20, 2015
IMO the dark matter may heat the Earth crust and marine water rather indirectly with catalyzing of electron capture (potassium decay) of another low energy nuclear reactions in it.

What? Do you really think oscillations in the decay rate of potassium would have been missed in the geologic record? Are you aware of how K-Ar dating works? If your "theory" of "dark matter heating" is to have even a modicum of scientific merit, it should be based on observable evidence, right?
... you may consider the atom nuclei and electron orbitals as a tiny droplets which can occasionally split or coalesce mutually...

No, you may not, not and be taken seriously. Electron orbitals are based on quantum mechanics, and nuclear decay mechanisms are based on the Standard Model of particle physics ... which are both VERY successful theories. You can't just say "they're tiny droplets" without explaining precisely how those established theories are consistent with your new "model".
DarkLordKelvin
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 20, 2015
IMO the dark matter particles are formed with scalar waves


Which are what, precisely? Waves that somehow lack both position and momentum?

which don't interact well with common electrons, but they interact strongly with so-called Dirac fermions


Umm .. electrons *are* Dirac fermions .. All "Dirac fermion" means is a particle with half-integer spin that is not its own anti-particle. The only known fundamental fermionic particles that might NOT be Dirac fermions are neutrinos. I guess you were trying to reference fermions that are their own anti-particles (Majorana fermions). The only known examples are quasiparticles, such as excitonic Bogoliubov electron-hole states in superconductors. Since those quasiparticles are complex (i.e. non-fundamental) states that have Dirac fermions as constituents, it's hard to see how "dark matter" could interact with them without also interacting with Dirac fermions.
DarkLordKelvin
2.7 / 5 (7) Feb 20, 2015
Recently it has been observed many anomalous nuclear transmutations, involving calcium, magnesium and other elements.


Please provide citations for these "observations".
DarkLordKelvin
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 20, 2015
The observable evidence of dark matter heating is still indirect, as we have no long term monitoring of CMBR noise yet: it consist of observation of increased geovolcanic activity, global heat content anomaly of global warming (the oceans are heating faster than the atmosphere, despite the atmosphere should be the main source of heat in AGW models.


Wow .. "global heat content anomaly"? You really think it's surprising that the ocean can "contain" more heat than the land and air? Are you familiar with the concept of heat capacity? Also, do you understand the difference between a "source" and a "sink"? Yes, more GHG's in the atmosphere trap more heat via the greenhouse effect ... this heat then has to be stored some where ... why is it so surprising that a lot of it is ending up in the oceans? You are aware that back in the Cretaceous, when atmospheric CO2 was much higher than today, the oceans were much warmer, right?
TheOrphan
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2015
@Timen

Thanks for the comments they are very interesting.

I'd be interested to hear what your take on the Higgs boson mass conversion mechanism is.
TheOrphan
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2015
Fair enough,

So how does it relate to the Big Bang and E=MC^2 ?

And why/how do people bring supersymmetry into the Higgs mechanism ?

From what I can see, supersymmetry and the Higgs mechanism are mutually exclusive, or at best any symmetry would be coincidental.

PS: My take on the mechanism involves additional supervoid displacement.
DarkLordKelvin
3 / 5 (2) Feb 20, 2015
electrons *are* Dirac fermions
Wait, wait. Do you think, that http://www-als.lb...te.html) so unique? Apparently you missed some subtlety here. We should unify the denominations for to find a common language here.


It seems that "Dirac fermion" means different things in particle physics (my usage) versus condensed matter physics (your usage). I understand the physical phenomena that you were referring to now, but I don't understand the inferences you are drawing from them.
TheOrphan
not rated yet Feb 20, 2015
If you look at the observation, "All matter displaces the supervoid" (Supervoid being absolutely clear space-time, i.e. with no other particles present) and all matter displays Gravity"

There is a empirical problem, with various particle masses displaying a different weight for the same volume. This is usually explained by the number of particles required to create said element, or in other words "Density"

The reason I believe the mass conversion of the Higgs involves additional supervoid displacement is because the Higgs particles are much smaller and therefore capable of much greater density, yet they don't coalesce into solid matter, they exist in a fluidic or gaseous state.

My understanding of SUSY, says that all particles have an anti-particle, and to keep it in tact they say that the Higgs is it's own anti-particle, if this was the case, how can the Higgs field exist ?, surely it would annihilate itself ?
TheOrphan
not rated yet Feb 20, 2015
Also, and please don't take offense, light frequency is a count of the number of photons detected in a given time frame, and therefore Red Shift is a result of the expanding Universe, not spacial "resistance". If a photon slows down, it by definition is no longer a photon, just a particle from whatever element created it, iron would be an astrological example.
Vietvet
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2015


PS: My take on the mechanism involves additional supervoid displacement.


What supervoid?

http://www.univer...rtifact/

TheOrphan
not rated yet Feb 21, 2015
@Vietvet

I use the term to describe the actual space-time without any kind of Gravity or particle contamination.

I don't believe the Big-Bang was the beginning of our space time, only our expanding Universe, there are just to many problems, that people have to keep inventing new aspects of it to satisfy faster than light mass conversion, which I also do not believe in.

To achieve real super-void in our Universe requires massive amounts of energy, amounts high enough to displace all the Dark matter in a given vicinity, only when this happens can larger particle masses form.

Space forms a "skin" at much lower speeds than light, Gravity itself is a skin formed in the space-time, and once the space-time has changed into a "skin" state it cannot do it again until all forces are removed and it reverts to an at rest state.
DarkLordKelvin
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 21, 2015
Which one? Which sentence you didn't understand first? The explanation of problem considers its localization.


You said that "scalar waves interact strongly with Dirac fermions" ... I don't understand what you are talking about there. First of all, the examples you gave for "scalar waves" were actually scalar fields ... they are not the same thing. "Scalar wave" is essentially meaningless in physics ... scalar fields are well-defined with plenty of examples.

Second, what about the condensed matter Dirac fermions you referenced makes them susceptible to interaction with what you are calling "scalar waves", when "common electrons do not interact well" (your phrasing) with "scalar waves"? What specific physical principles are at work there?

Your posts are quite hard to parse for me because they seem to place equal weight on solid physical concepts like the Standard model, and fringe topics like "scalar waves", "dark matter heating" and "cold fusion".
Gigel
not rated yet Feb 21, 2015
The author has studies in geology, so he probably knows his stuff.
LagomorphZero
4.5 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2015
Seems like the author fell into a common trap. Correlation does not imply causation!

It seems exceedingly hard to have enough certainty about the accuracy of the extinction events/volcanoes/comet impacts over millions of years to be able to safely tie it to crossing the galactic plane. And if we crossed the plane 66 Ma ago why was there no extinction event 36 Ma ago, or 6 Ma ago, the last two times we passed through, assuming a 30 Ma cycle as in the paper.

As Returners mentioned above, there are a lot of other more direct explanations for those events such as GRBs, passing planets or stars that could account for comet activity and extinction events. Lastly, assuming that dark matter is especially diffuse, I'm not sure how it would be able to knock comets and asteroids around with much ease.

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