Magazine article Geographical

Into the Dark Side

Magazine article Geographical

Into the Dark Side

Article excerpt

Every 30 million years or so, the Earth passes through the most crowded section of the galactic disc. Mass extinction events and radical changes to the Earth's geology follow

New research has suggested that what the Earth encounters when it enters the Milky Way's crowded section of the galactic disc--namely dark matter causes changes deep within the planet's core.

'When the Earth passes through [that part of] the disc, it might encounter dense clumps of invisible dark matter,' says professor Michael Rampino, a biology professor at New York University, whose research shows a correlation between mass extinctions, geological change and the Earth's orbit.

'Dark matter is slowed by collisions with the Earth, loses energy and spirals into the Earth's core,' says Rampino. 'If the particle is its own antiparticle they will annihilate each other, giving off energy.'

As the particles annihilate each other, immense heat is created in the Earth's core. …

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