Ocean Floor Dust Gives New Insight into Supernovae

Dr Anton Wallner inwards the Nuclear Physics Department at ANU Ocean Floor Dust Gives New Insight into Supernovae

Scientists plumbing the depths of the sea accept made a surprise finding that could alter the means nosotros empathize supernovae, exploding stars means beyond our solar system. They accept analysed extraterrestrial dust idea to survive from supernovae, that has settled on sea floors to stimulate upwardly one’s heed the total of heavy elements created past times the massive explosions. “Small amounts of debris from these distant explosions autumn on the globe every bit it travels through the galaxy,” said atomic number 82 researcher Dr Anton Wallner, from the Research School of Physics too Engineering. “We’ve analysed galactic dust from the final 25 1000000 years that has settled on the sea too constitute at that spot is much less of the heavy elements such every bit plutonium too uranium than nosotros expected.”
The findings are at odds amongst electrical current theories of supernovae, inwards which some of the materials essential for human life, such every bit iron, potassium too iodine are created too distributed throughout space.
Supernovae besides usage lead, silvery too gold, too heavier radioactive elements such every bit uranium too plutonium.
Dr Wallner’s squad studied plutonium-244 which serves every bit a radioactive clock past times the nature of its radioactive decay, amongst a half-life of 81 1000000 years.
“Any plutonium-244 that existed when the globe formed from intergalactic gas too dust over 4 billion years agone has long since decayed,” Dr Wallner said.
“So whatsoever plutonium-244 that nosotros abide by on globe must accept been created inwards explosive events that accept occurred to a greater extent than recently, inwards the final few hundred 1000000 years.”
The squad analysed a 10 centimetre-thick sample of the earth’s crust, representing 25 1000000 years of accretion, every bit good every bit deep-sea sediments collected from a really stable expanse at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
“We constitute 100 times less plutonium-244 than nosotros expected,” Dr Wallner said.
“It seems that these heaviest elements may non survive formed inwards measure supernovae later on all. It may demand rarer too to a greater extent than explosive events such every bit the merging of 2 neutron stars to brand them.”
The fact that these heavy elements similar plutonium were present, too uranium too thorium are all the same introduce on globe suggests that such an explosive effect must accept happened unopen to the globe simply about the fourth dimension it formed, said Dr Wallner.
“Radioactive elements inwards our planet such every bit uranium too thorium supply much of the estrus that drives continental movement, possibly other planets don’t accept the same estrus engine within them,” he said.
The query is published inwards Nature Communications.
Credit: anu.edu.au
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