Monday, April 13, 2009

Gamma Ray burst may have caused mass extinction, are we due for another?

When massive stars collapse, they can release a stream of high-energy radiation called gamma rays, which are not good for living things. A gamma ray burst can vaporize the (critical) ozone layer, spark acid rain and initiate a period of global cooling. (National Geographic) The chances of a star collapsing and showering the Earth are actually more significant than you might think.

According to a new study, the Earth gets nailed by a fatal stream of gamma rays every one billion years. The study predicts a gamma ray burst caused the Ordovician period mass extinction which killed 70 percent of marine life.

No this news isn't keeping Pound360 up at night. One-in-a-billion (or whatever) chances don't get to us. But it's more than we expected for gamma ray burst.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.