Marine and terrestrial extinctions, large volcanic lava spills called basalt flood eruptions, events in which the oceans were depleted of oxygen, fluctuations, sea level fluctuations and changes or reorganization in the Earth’s tectonic plates are some of the events. that could be caused by cycles of geological activity on Earth .
According to a new study , published in Geoscience Frontiers , these cycles will be stable and take place every 27.5 million years.
20 million years to go for the next geological pulse
Using the latest available age dating data, up-to-date records of major geological events over the past 260 million years were compiled and further analyzes performed. The team analyzed the ages of 89 well-dated major geological events from the past 260 million years .
As explained by Michael Rampino , a geologist and professor in the Department of Biology at New York University, as well as the lead author of the study:
Many geologists believe that geological events are random over time. But our study provides statistical evidence for a common cycle, suggesting that these geological events are correlated and not random.
The researchers found that these global geological events generally cluster at 10 different time points over the 260 million years, clustered into peaks or pulses roughly 27.5 million years apart. The most recent cluster of geologic events occurred about 7 million years ago, suggesting that the next pulse of major geologic activity is more than 20 million years into the future .
The origin of these cycles is not known, but it is theorized that they are related to geophysical processes related to the dynamics of plate tectonics and climate, or perhaps the Earth’s orbit in space could also be setting the pace of these events .