Water/Hycean Worlds & Oceanography

Influence Of A Galactic Gamma-Ray Burst On Ocean Plankton

By Keith Cowing
November 18, 2020
Filed under
Influence Of A Galactic Gamma-Ray Burst On Ocean Plankton
Earth's Oceans

The hypothesis that one or more biodiversity drops in the Phanerozoic eon, evident in the geological record, might have been caused by the most powerful kind of stellar explosion so far known Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB) has been discussed in several works.

These stellar explosions could have left an imprint in the biological evolution on Earth and in other habitable planets. In this work we calculate the short-term lethality that a GRB would produce in the aquatic primary producers on Earth. This effect on life appears because of ultraviolet (UV) retransmission in the atmosphere of a fraction of the gamma energy, resulting in an intense UV flash capable of penetrating tens of meters in the water column in the ocean.

We focus on the action of the UV flash on phytoplankton, as they are the main contributors to global aquatic primary productivity. Our results suggest that the UV flash could cause a significant reduction of phytoplankton biomass in the upper mixed layer of the World Ocean.

Lien Rodríguez-López (EULA, U. Concepción, Chile), Rolando Cardenas (UCLV, Santa Clara, Cuba), Lisdelys González-Rodríguez (Faculty of Engineering, U. Concepción, Chile), Mayrene Guimarais (UNAM, México), J.E. Horvath (IAG-USP, São Paulo, Brazil)

Comments: Contributed paper to the IWARA Conference, MĂ©xico September 2020, to be published by Astron. Nach. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1010.0727
Subjects: High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (astro-ph.HE)
Cite as: arXiv:2011.08433 [astro-ph.HE] (or arXiv:2011.08433v1 [astro-ph.HE] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jorge Ernesto Horvath
[v1] Sat, 14 Nov 2020 17:49:51 UTC (297 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻