Tree rings chronicle ancient devastating solar storms

Dr. Benjamin Pope from the University of Queensland and his research team studied centuries-old trees to learn more about them Radiation storms that “struck” our planet in the past.

– Huge Cosmic ray bursts known as Miyake eventsThey occur about once every thousand years, but their cause is not clear. The leading theory is that these solar flares are huge. We need to know more because if one of them happened today, it would destroy technology including satellites, internet cables, long-distance power lines and transformers. Dr. Pope said the impact on global infrastructure would be unimaginable.

Scientists have developed a special program to analyze all available tree ring data. Since you can count tree rings to determine its age, you can also count the tree rings, said Qinqyuan Zhang, first author of the study. Observe historical space events dating back thousands of years. When radiation hits the atmosphere, it produces Radiocarbon C14It filters the air, oceans, plants and animals and produces an annual record of radiation in tree rings. We modeled the global carbon cycle to reconstruct this process over 10,000 years to gain insight into the scale and nature of Miyake events.

The obtained research results undermine the theory that the Miyake events will be giant solar flares. Zhang added, “We’ve shown that they’re not related. sunspot activitySome last for a year or two. Instead of a single instantaneous explosion or glow, we can view it as Kind of astrophysical “storm” or an explosion.

As the researchers point out, the unknown origin of the events of Miyake, no unpredictability, is very annoying. Dr. Pope said: “Based on the available data, there is about a one percent chance of seeing another event in the next decade. But we don’t know how to predict it or the damage it will do. These opportunities are very worrying and form the basis for further research.”

The results of the research were published in a scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

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