Did a gamma-ray burst initiate the late Ordovician mass extinction?

@article{Melott2004DidAG,
  title={Did a gamma-ray burst initiate the late Ordovician mass extinction?},
  author={Adrian L. Melott and By Offer Lieberman and Claude Laird and L. D. Martin and Mikhail V. Medvedev and B. Thomas and John K. Cannizzo and N. C. Gehrels and C. H. Jackman},
  journal={International Journal of Astrobiology},
  year={2004},
  volume={3},
  pages={55 - 61}
}
Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) produce a flux of radiation detectable across the observable Universe. A GRB within our own galaxy could do considerable damage to the Earth's biosphere; rate estimates suggest that a dangerously near GRB should occur on average two or more times per billion years. At least five times in the history of life, the Earth has experienced mass extinctions that eliminated a large percentage of the biota. Many possible causes have been documented, and GRBs may also have… 

Late Ordovician geographic patterns of extinction compared with simulations of astrophysical ionizing radiation damage

This work focuses on gamma-ray bursts (Thorsett 1995; Scalo and Wheeler 2002), a proposed causal agent for the end-Ordovician extinction, a threat approximately competitive with, for example, that of nearby supernovae.

Biological radiation dose from secondary particles in a Milky Way gamma-ray burst

Modelled the air showers produced by gamma-ray primaries up to 100 GeV, it is found that the number of muons produced by the electromagnetic component of hypothetical galactic GRBs significantly increases the total muon flux, and the biological radiation dose from secondary muons is negligible.

Possible role of gamma ray bursts on life extinction in the universe.

It is found that the probability of a lethal GRB is much larger in the inner Milky Way (95% within a radius of 4 kpc from the galactic center), making it inhospitable to life, and the safest environments for life are the lowest density regions in the outskirts of large galaxies, and life can exist in only ≈10% of galaxies.

Gamma-ray bursts as a threat to life on Earth

  • B. Thomas
  • Physics, Environmental Science
    International Journal of Astrobiology
  • 2009
Abstract Gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are likely to have made a number of significant impacts on the Earth during the last billion years. The gamma radiation from a burst within a few kiloparsecs would

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Nearby gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have been proposed as a possible cause of mass extinctions on Earth. Due to the higher event rate of GRBs at higher redshifts, it has been speculated that life as we

Astrophysical ionizing radiation and Earth: a brief review and census of intermittent intense sources.

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ASTROBIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF GAMMA-RAY BURSTS IN THE MILKY WAY GALAXY

A planet having protective ozone within the collimated beam of a gamma-ray burst (GRB) may suffer ozone depletion, potentially causing a mass extinction event to existing life on a planet’s surface

Climatic and biogeochemical effects of a galactic gamma ray burst

The results support the hypothesis that the characteristics of the Late Ordovician mass extinction are consistent with GRB initiation, and show the first detailed computation of two other significant effects.

Did gamma ray burst induce Cambrian explosion?

One longstanding mystery in bio-evolution since Darwin’s time is the origin of the Cambrian explosion that happened around 540 million years ago (Mya), where an extremely rapid increase of species
...

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