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The ice cloud that hit the Earth, what we know

The ice cloud that hit the Earth, what we know

Earth must have passed through an ice cloud, capable of completely modifying our planet’s evolution and climate: here’s what we know about this theory.

Today, Earth is a habitable planet, albeit an increasingly hotter one – as evidenced by the latest recorded temperatures. But it was not always this way: about two million years ago a very long period began Glaciers followed each other Which literally changed the Earth’s climate and evolution. The surface of our planet was covered in ice and only a very few creatures could survive in this hostile environment. At least until about 12 thousand years ago, the situation changed completely. But what was it? a reason What led to alternating ice ages on Earth? Scientists have developed a new theory.

Ice cloud hypothesis

the Paleoclimatologists They have been wondering for years what possible causes led to a series of ice ages that completely disrupted the climate on Earth. From global warming to volcanic eruptions, there are many factors that could have contributed to this phenomenon. But now an interesting new theory has emerged, thanks to the work of a research team from Boston University, published in 2017 Nature astronomy. The study talks about the existence of one Interstellar ice cloud Which, about two million years ago, would have met our planet.

Using some Computer generated modelsScientists tried to analyze how Sun position The heliosphere (i.e. the protective shield of plasma emitted by the Sun itself) two million years ago may have affected the chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere. The hypothesis is that an ice cloud, at that particular time period, would have interfered with the solar wind Temporarily reduce the heliosphereleaving our planet “exposed” thanks to its protection from cosmic rays.

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Consequences of the encounter between Earth and the ice cloud

“Our study is the first to quantitatively prove that it was there An encounter between the sun And something outside the solar system may have affected Earth’s climate. Stars move and this work shows not only that they move, but also that they undergo radical changes Merav Ofer, a space physicist at Boston University and lead author of the study. If this theory were true, our planet would have gone through a particularly difficult period that would have made it uninhabitable.

Without the Solar cover protectionIt would have been exposed to radioactive particles, gas, dust, and atomic elements from exploding stars. Evidence of this phenomenon can be found in sampling carried out on the oceans, on Antarctic snow and on ice samples (as well as on the Moon): isotopes of elements such as iron and plutonium were identified which must have arrived from the depths of the Earth. space. In that period, Temperature on Earth It collapsed quickly and ice ages began.

“Our cosmic neighbors beyond the world rarely do Solar System Impact on life on Earth. It is exciting to discover that our passage through dense clouds a few million years ago may have exposed our planet to a much greater stream of cosmic rays and hydrogen atoms. “Our results open a new window on the relationship between the evolution of life on Earth and our cosmic neighborhood,” he said. Avi Loebdirector of Harvard’s Institute for Theory and Computation and co-author of the study.

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