Mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause?

  title={Mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause?},
  author={Anatoly D. Erlykin and David A. T. Harper and Terry Sloan and Arnold Whittaker Wolfendale},
A Fourier analysis of the magnitudes and timing of the Phanerozoic mass extinctions (MEs) demonstrates that many of the periodicities claimed in other analyses are not statistically significant. Moreover we show that the periodicities associated with oscillations of the Solar System about the galactic plane are too irregular to give narrow peaks in the Fourier periodograms. This leads us to conclude that, apart from possibly a small number of major events, astronomical causes for MEs can… 

Comments on: Periodicity in the extinction rate and possible astronomical causes – comment on mass extinctions over the last 500 myr: an astronomical cause? (Erlykin et al.)


Are Impact Craters and Extinction Episodes Periodic? Implications for Planetary Science and Astrobiology.

Questions arise with regard to the compatibility of such periodic pulses of comet flux with the makeup of the steady-state Near Earth Object (NEO) population, the estimated long-term NEO cratering rates on the terrestrial planets, and the predicted small contribution of Oort Cloud-derived comets to the terrestrial cratering record.

On Solar Origin of Alleged Mass Extinction Periods in Records of Natural Data

  • Mensur Omerbashich
  • Geology
  • 2019
An acclaimed dismissal of the alleged ~ 62 Ma period of mass extinctions in the Sepkoski compendium of world marine fossils has been independently confirmed and a solar origin of that and other

A 27.5-My underlying periodicity detected in extinction episodes of non-marine tetrapods

It is suggested that global cataclysmal events with an underlying periodicity of ~27.5 My were the cause of the coordinated periodic extinction episodes of non-marine tetrapods and marine organisms.

Paleozoic Extinctions in Cosmoclimatological Context: ‘Non-Bolide’ Extraterrestrial Causes for Global Chilling

  • Y. Isozaki
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Paleontological Research
  • 2022
Abstract. The Paleozoic Era experienced 4 major mass extinctions; i.e., end-Ordovician, Late Devonian, end-Guadalupian, and end-Permian episodes. As a cause of significant biodiversity decline,

Moon body resonance

  • Mensur Omerbashich
  • Physics, Geology
  • 2020
The full range of 50 initial, Moon-orbit-forced superharmonic resonance periods is detected in the 1969-1977 time-series of all 12474 consecutive 0.02 Hz moonquakes from the Apollo Program catalog.

Causes of global extinctions in the history of life: facts and hypotheses

The hypothesis suggests that even in the absence of global abiotic catastrophes, extinctions of biota would occur anyway, and does not exclude the possibility that in different periods of the Earth's history the biota was subjected to powerful external influences that had a significant impact on its further development, which is reflected in the Earth’s fossil record.

End-Paleozoic Mass Extinction: Hierarchy of Causes and a New Cosmoclimatological Perspective for the Largest Crisis

  • Y. Isozaki
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2019
The largest mass extinction in the Phanerozoic occurred at the boundary between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras (about 252 million years ago). The end-Paleozoic extinction that determined the fate of

Oceanic crustal carbon cycle drives 26-million-year atmospheric carbon dioxide periodicities

It is shown that seafloor spreading rates as well as the storage, subduction, and emission of oceanic crustal and mantle CO2 fluctuate with a period of 26 My, which is a previously overlooked mechanism that connects plate tectonic pulsing with fluctuations in atmospheric carbon and surface environments.

Hyperthermal-driven mass extinctions: killing models during the Permian–Triassic mass extinction

  • M. Benton
  • Environmental Science
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2018
Studies of the effects of extreme physical conditions on modern organisms, as well as assumptions about rates of environmental change, give direct evidence of likely killing effects deriving from hyperthermals of the past.



Periodic mass extinctions and the Sun's oscillation about the galactic plane

Raup and Sepkoski1 have recently reported evidence fora 26-Myr periodicity in the occurrence of mass extinctions based on a study of marine fossils. The data baseline of 250 Myr suggests events of


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Extinction of species by periodic comet showers

A 26-Myr periodicity has recently been seen in the fossil record of extinction in the geological past1. At least two of these extinctions are known to be associated with the impact on the Earth of a

Are periodic mass extinctions driven by a distant solar companion?

Raup and Sepkoski1–3 have recently reported evidence for a 26-Myr cycle in biological mass extinctions which, if real, requires an astronomical explanation. Here we investigate a model in which this

Terrestrial mass extinctions, cometary impacts and the Sun's motion perpendicular to the galactic plane

Episodes of mass extinctions on the Earth are now strongly suspected to be cyclical1. We report here that our analysis of the data of Raup and Sepkoski1 suggests that the dominant cyclicity in major

Periodicity of extinctions in the geologic past.

  • D. RaupJ. Sepkoski
  • Geography, Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1984
The temporal distribution of the major extinctions over the past 250 million years has been investigated statistically using various forms of time series analysis and contains 12 extinction events that show a statistically significant periodicity.

Evidence from crater ages for periodic impacts on the Earth

Recent evidence has indicated that the impact of a comet or asteroid may have been responsible for mass extinction at the ends of both the Cretaceous1 and the Eocene2–4. Quantitative analysis by Raup

Cosmic ray diffusion from the galactic spiral arms, iron meteorites, and a possible climatic connection.

  • N. Shaviv
  • Physics, Geology
    Physical review letters
  • 2002
Although the geological evidence for the occurrence of iceage epochs in the past eon is not unequivocal, it appears to have a nontrivial correlation with the spiral arm crossings-agreeing in period and phase.

Nemesis reconsidered: Nemesis reconsidered

This work examines the evidence for the previously proposed periodicity of a companion object orbiting the Sun, using two modern, greatly improved paleontological datasets of fossil biodiversity, and finds that there is a narrow peak at 27 My in the cross-spectrum of extinction intensity time series between these independent datasets.

Dark matter as a trigger for periodic comet impacts.

It is shown how to evaluate the statistical evidence for periodicity by input of appropriate measured priors from the galactic model, justifying or ruling out periodic cratering with more confidence than by evaluating the data without an underlying model.