Muon Radiation Dose and Marine Megafaunal Extinction at the end-Pliocene Supernova


Supernova in M82

Considerable data and analysis support the detection of a supernova at a distance of about 50 pc, ~2.6 million years ago. This is possibly related to the extinction event around that time and is a member of a series of explosions which formed the Local Bubble in the interstellar medium.

We build on the assumptions made in previous work, and propagate the muon flux from supernova-initiated cosmic rays from the surface to the depths of the ocean. We find that the radiation dose from the muons will exceed the total present surface dose from all sources at depths up to a kilometer and will persist for at least the lifetime of marine megafauna. It is reasonable to hypothesize that this increase in radiation load may have contributed to a newly documented marine megafaunal extinction at that time.

Adrian L. Melott (Kansas), Franciole Marinho, Laura Paulucci
(Submitted on 26 Dec 2017)

Comments: 3 figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (astro-ph.HE); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR); Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics (; Populations and Evolution (q-bio.PE)
Cite as: arXiv:1712.09367 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1712.09367v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Adrian Melott
[v1] Tue, 26 Dec 2017 19:00:11 GMT (186kb)

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