Publication Abstracts

Stothers 1985

Stothers, R.B., 1985: Terrestrial record of the Solar System's oscillation about the galactic plane. Nature, 317, 338-341, doi:10.1038/317338a0.

Impact cratering on the Earth over the past 600 Myr has been partly sporadic, partly episodic. The episodic component is suspected to have been cyclical, with a mean period of ∼32 Myr. According to a theory proposed to explain this phenomenon, gravitational encounters between the Solar System and interstellar clouds of intermediate to large size occasionally disturb the outer Solar System comets, with the consequence that some of these comets fall into the inner regions of the system, where a few hit the Earth. Because the episodes of impact cratering, however, are not precisely periodic, the galactic mechanism must be in part stochastic. The irregular part can be attributed to the randomness in the local space distribution of the interstellar clouds (and various other perturbing galactic objects). The periodic component probably arises from the harmonic oscillation of the Sun about the galactic plane, since the large-scale space density of the interstellar clouds and other objects falls off with increasing distance from the plane. A new study of the observational evidence is presented here. Contrary to a claim by Thaddeus and Chanan, the vertical scale height of the clouds seems to be sufficiently small and the Sun's vertical trajectory sufficiently large for the modulating effect of the Sun's galactovertical motion to be detectable in the terretrial record of impact cratering with at least a 50% a priori probability.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Stothers, R. B.},
  title={Terrestrial record of the Solar System's oscillation about the galactic plane},

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RIS Citation

ID  - st05000n
AU  - Stothers, R. B.
PY  - 1985
TI  - Terrestrial record of the Solar System's oscillation about the galactic plane
JA  - Nature
VL  - 317
SP  - 338
EP  - 341
DO  - 10.1038/317338a0
ER  -

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