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Galactic years and geological cycles

Main page (on Russian) > Home page (on English) > Astrogeochronology

(Full Russian Edition - Русская версия)

Igor Garshin, business-analyst, Caspian Pipeline Consortium (Russia), Novorossiysk. E-mail:

Table of contents:

Keywords: astrogeochronology, rhythmostratigraphy, geochronological time-scale, planetar megacycles, stages of the Globe history, geological ages, sedimentation eras, tectonic cyclicity, orogenic periodicity, geocataclysms rhythm, Galactic year, Galaxy rotation effect, Milky Way rhythmic influence, geodynamic eons.

1. Annotation

It is established that the duration of geological eras and periods determined by the rotation of the Galaxy. There are periods of 200 million years and multiples them, as well as smaller periods (about 50 million years). Lunar chronology confirms this. It proposes the new geochronological scale, corresponding to the Galactic circulation period (galacycle).

It is found that at the boundaries of the galacycles in the Globe history catastrophic events occur. The purported reason for these events - the fall of large asteroids, possibly extrasolar origin. These bombings resulted directly or indirectly (through volcanic activity effort) to dusty atmosphere and enlarged cloudiness (when meteorites fall in the oceans). Reducing solar radiation resulted in hypothermia and beginning of the Ice Age. More precipitations in the form of snow in the polar latitudes increased the reflectivity of the Earth, reducing the inflow of solar heat. Incidental geological event could be a continental split. These geological disasters have led to biological accidents, when 40 to 95 percent of all species died out.

Keywords: geochronology, geochronologic scale, geological era, stage of the Globe history, Earths crust evolution, Lunar time scale, selenological timescale, Galactic rotation, galacycle, Milky Way impact, species extinction, biologic catastrophe, geological cataclysm, ice age, asteroid attacks, old continental split.

2. Introduction to the problem

At the beginning of the XX century geologists Penk and Brikner investigated alpine glaciation and established the relative chronology of the post-glacial and interglacial epochs of the Quaternary history of the Alps [1]. Then they were able to obtain a numerical expression of the intensity and duration of climate change of interglacial periods. Putting the time on the abscissa and the displacement of the snow line on the ordinate, they received a broken line, which is called "the climate curve of Penk-Brickner".

Astronomic variables that control the solar insolation - and sedimentation cycles

Koeppen, Milankovich and Wegener (1924) saw the cause of these changes in the oscillations of solar heat value - the main factor that determines the climate of our planet. The amount of heat that the earth's surface receives depends, at a fixed value of solar radiation, from 3 changing values:

  1. ecliptic obliquity, which varies with a period of about 40,000 years - the smaller obliquity, the softer and more uniform climate;
  2. eccentricity of the Earth's orbit, varying with a period of about 90,000 years;
  3. precession of the equinoxes, periodically changing every 26,000 years - defines the season, which has this hemisphere at perihelion or aphelion.

These three changes of motion depend on the attraction between Earth and other solar planets.

Milankovich calculated what the actual combination of this three changes. He built the curve, which he called "Solar radiation in the summer half-year in high latitudes during the Quaternary period of 650,000 years". Change the value of solar radiation on the vertical axis is shown as change of the latitude. The curve does not account for the influence of Earth's atmosphere and geographical factors (e.g., the presence of large continental masses to the north of the equator).

Koeppen in 1924 noted a striking similarity between the curves of Penk-Brickner and Milankovich. And Eberl, having spent detailing the history of the glacial period of the Alps, built himself curve whose projections also coincided with projections of Penk-Brickner's and Milankovich's curves. As Eberl pointed the traces of more ancient glacial epochs, he asked to continue the Milankovich curve calculated for the first 650,000 years, the length of time in one million years. Comparison of the new older parts of the Milankovich's and Eberl's curves again revealed their striking similarity.

Subsequently, it was recognized that the impact of geographic factors on Earth's climate is much greater than astronomical. But now again they came to the conclusion [5], that quasi-periodic oscillations in the Earth's orbit (precession and eccentricity) and an obliquity of the Earth's axis were the main factor of climate change in the past, which are imprinted in the sedimentary sequences. On the picture 1 [5, picture 3] we can see, that peaks of sedimentation were repeated approximately every 100 million years.

Picture 1.
Astronomy variables that control the solar insolation,
determined by the rotation of the Earth around the Sun and its axis (нћїнѕ©.
Astronomical factors in the formation of rhythmic sequences of sedimentary strata (нћїнї©.
Values of eccentricity, obliquity and precession of the axis within the last million years.
(Strasser et al., 2006, figs 1, 3, partially)

Such attempts to do a satisfactory explanation of climate changes on Earth by cosmic causes encourage to further research in this area for the entire Earth's history. If the Earth's climate is influenced by the planet in the Solar system, it may be also some space factors affect to the Solar system and its objects?

Relationship of the frequency of climate change, the introduction of kimberlites and accumulation of oil to global fluctuations of the Earth engaged in VA Epifanov (SNIIGGIMS, Novosibirsk, Russia). In particular, he showed [3, 4] that a period of oil accumulation is 216 million years. That is corresponds to the Milky Way orbital period [1]. Probably, many other researchers studied the effect of the surrounding stars, structures and processes in our Galaxy at the solar system. The most interest is to establish patterns and causes of major geological and biological events of the Globe. Evaluation of these Galactic factors is the subject of this paper.

3. Subject & Method (what and how will we explore)

The subject of our research will be key events in the history of the Earth and life on it - their possible relationship and frequency. The method of investigation - chronological comparison of these events together. It will be explored the following key events:

  1. The begin and end of ice ages
  2. The partition and formation of continents
  3. The fall of meteorites - if ancient craters are found, and their ages are determined
  4. The rise and extinction of species; major aromorphoses
  5. Other geological events and cycles (tectonic activity, orogeny, sedimentation, changes in sea level ...).

In addition, we compare the geochronology with time scales of the moon and other planets of the Solar System (from the available data).

4. Chronological comparisons

Now we reduce together all these key events on the basis of the Earth time scale.

§ 4.1. Comparison of the chronologies of the Earth, Moon and several planets in the Solar system

Let's compare the chronological scale the Earth, Moon, Mars, Mercury and Venus which are available to us.

§ 4.2. Comparison of the stages in history of the Earth and the Moon with the Galaxy rotation period

When viewing a geochronologic scale [2] I had noticed that many periods multiple of about 200 million years. And it is the period of our galaxy rotation (which, except for part of its matter, rotates as a solid). The Solar System for 180-200 million years makes a complete revolution around the Galactic center. During this time it maybe feels the periodical gravitational or radiation effect from some matter accumulations or Galaxy's neighbors. After a detailed analysis of the geologic time scale, this assumption is fully confirmed.

In addition, it appears that Lunar time scale is also multiples of approximately 200 million years and it's periods are also consistent with the geologic periods. This confirms the assumption that the great stages in the evolution of the planets are not determined by internal causes but external ones - from the Space.

This comparison is convenient to show in tabular form (see the table lower). The chronology is given in millions and billions of years - according to 2009 [2]. For clarity the ancient eras shifted to higher. Thus, the Proterozoic, Archean and Catarchean eras became as eons, their periods - as eras and their epochs - as periods. Next to their name, in brackets - it's duration. Farther, for each period their "marking" is described - how do they differ from the adjacent and how are their boundaries determined? For these periods in Earth's history the most important geological and biological events are presented too.

History of the Earth History of the Moon Turnovers of the Galaxy
Eons Ages Periods Begin Duration Periods Begin Galacycles Begin
Anthropogene / Quatemary (2,6 Ma).
Extinct of big mammals (10-12 Me).
Ice Age (1 Ma).
2,6 Ma Copernican
1100 Our modern
0 galacycle (66)
It began with cooling
and extinction
Neogene (20 Ma) 23 Ma
Paleogene (43 Ma)
Global cooling (34 Ma)
65,5±0,3 Ma
Partition of Laurasia (200-135).
in the Eurasia and N.America.
Breaking up of Gondwana (120-190?).
Extinct of dinosaurs (65).
145,5±0,4 -1st galacycle
Began with mass extinction
Desintegration of Pangea in
Laurasia and Gondwana (220-150).
Half of the species had disappeared (210).
95% of species extincted (251).
Australia split from Gondwana.
299,0±0,8 -2nd galacycle
Began with glaciation
and extinction
Formation of Pangea (360).
Gondwanian glaciation
(350-230? / 340-240, max 280).
85% of species extincted (364).
Asteroid 5 km (360)?
Death of 25% of the sean families (450).
Ice age (460-420/410).
488,3±1,7 -3 galacycle
Began with glaciation
(and extinction?)
The explosion of speciation
Ediacaran (Vendian)
Varangan glaciation (680-570).
Beginning of the
Laurasian desintegration.
"Earth-snowball" (850-630 / 750-650) with
2 glaciations (one of them - 716,5
duration of 5 million year).
Sturtian glacial epoch? (800).
Disintegration of Rodinia (750).
850 -4th galacycle
Began and ended
with glaciations
Beginning of the Rodinia desintegration.
Д­жЄ±жІ±лЇҐ glaciation (950-900).
Asteroid attack?
1000 -5th galacycle
Began with glaciation
Supercontinent Rodinia
1200 Eratosthenian
3200 -6th galacycle
1400 -7th galacycle
Calymmian (Early Riphean)
-8th galacycle
1800 -9th galacycle
2050 -10th galacycle
2300 -11th galacycle
Oxygen catastrophe (2,4).
Huron glaciation (2,5/2,4-2,1/2,0 bil.).
Vanish of the hothouse effect
Increase of precipitations?
-12th galacycle
Began with glaciation
Neoarchaean glaciation (2650) 2800 -13th and -14th galacycles
(and glaciation between ones)
3200 -15th and -16th galacycles 3000
3600 Imbrian
650 [600?]
-17th and -18th galacycles 3400
4000 -19th galacycle 3800
70 [200?]
-20th galacycle 4000
4600 Pre-Nectarian
4533 -21st, -22nd and -23rd

§ 4.3. Comparison of the later stages in the Earth's history which are equal to one galacycle

Let's compare the eras and periods of the Phanerozoic (see the table lower). Paleozoic era, in general, fit into 2 Galactic turnover. Therefore, we divide it into two parts - neopaleozoyskuyu (from Permian to Silurian) and Eopaleozoic (Ordovician, Cambrian and Upper Proterozoic of the Ediacaria).

Cenozoic (0 galacycle)
Geological period Epoch Century Begin
Atlantic (~50)
Proiogene (~50)
Neogene with Anthropogene (still 23)
Paleogene (43)
Mesozoic (-1st galacycle)
Geological period Epoch Century Begin
Neocretaceous (31)
Eocretaceous (47)
Jurassic (54)
Trias (51)
Neopaleozoic (-2nd galacycle)
Geological period Epoch Century Begin
Permian (48)
Carboniferous (60?)
Devonian (57)
Silurian (28?)
Eopaleozoic (-3d galacycle)
Geological period Epoch Century Begin
Ordovician (44)
Cembrian (54)
Ediacaran (40?)
Lapponian (40?)

5. Results

  1. Every even (according to our numbering of the 0th, 2nd, 4th) galacycle begins with glaciation.
  2. In the galacycles border (near the end) is as a rule extinction (65, 250, 450 million years ago).
  3. Extinction is usually caused by hypothermia climate. Sometimes due to overheating suggest volcanic activity.
  4. Extinction is often associated with the fall of the giant asteroid. We can assume that this leads to a "nuclear winter", and also, possibly, to increased volcanic activity - so you may suggest overheating, but in fact it was hypothermia.
  5. Apparently, the split of the continents [3] is called by the fall of the giant asteroid. Therefore, these tectonic events are also necessary to consider and analyze.
  6. Apparently, on the border of galacycles in the Solar system is enhanced meteor shower.
  7. Either this is due to gravitational perturbations of different asteroid zones, or extrasolar asteroids.

6. Conclusion

  1. By comparison of the chronological scales of the Earth and Moon we found their consistency and frequency of periods of 200 million years. The reason for this can not be internal planetary but space factor. It is assumed that it is the rotation of our galaxy with the same period 200 million years ("galacycle").
  2. This phenomenon should be observed and chronological study of other planets - as the solar planets as extrasolar planets (exoplanets) in the Galactic stellar systems.
  3. The rotation of the Galaxy defines the largest periods (ages) of the planetar evolutions, the beginning of which are associated with dramatic, usually catastrophic events.

In addition, it appears advisable to bring the existing geochronological scale in line with the Galactic cycles. It may be, for example, a chronological system, consisting of 24 eras:

  1. Cenozoic (Age of Mammals):
    1. Atlantic (boundary)
    2. Proiogene (future)
    3. Nostratic (Neogene with Anthropogene) - it finished in about 25 million years
    4. Paleogene
  2. Mesozoic (Age of Reptiles):
    1. Neocretaceous (perhaps equal to the Late Cretaceous)
    2. Eocretaceous (perhaps equal to Early Cretaceous)
    3. Jurassic
    4. Trias
  3. Neopaleozoic:
    1. Permian
    2. Carboniferous
    3. Devonian
    4. Silurian
  4. Eopaleozoic:
    1. Ordovician
    2. Cembrian
    3. Ediacaran
    4. Lapponian
  5. 9 Proterozoic ages (Cryogenian, Tonian, Stenian, Ectasian, Statherian, Orosirian, Rhyacian, Siderian)
  6. 8 Archean ages (late and early Neoarchean, late and early Mesoarchean, late and early paleoarchean, late and early Eoarchean)
  7. 3 Catarchean ages (Neohadean, Mesohadean, Eohadean)

For periods of the Cenozoic era after the Paleogene proposed probable name. The Cenozoic, according to our estimates will last for about 120-130 million years. In the end of the Cenozoic (late Teratogenic) are possible catastrophic events and global climate change. Most likely, it will be a major bombardment of asteroids, extensive ice age, and perhaps split of some continents.

7. Bibliography

  1. Astronomy: XXI century. / Editor-compiler V.G. Surdin - Fryazino: "Vek 2", 2008. - 2-nd edition. - 608 pages.
  2. I.P. Gerasimov and K.K. Markov. Quaternary Geology (Paleogeography of the Quaternary period). Moscow, GUPI of RSFSR Education People's Commissariat, 1939 - 362 pages.
  3. T.N. Koren. International Stratigraphic Scale of Precambrian and Phanerozoic: principles and current status. St. Petersburg. "VSEGEI", 2009. - 40 pages.
  4. S.A. Ushakov and N.A. Yasmanov. The drift of continents and Earth's climates. Moscow, "Thought", 1984 - 206 pages.
  5. V.A. Yepifanov. Oil content cyclic recurrence in earth pulsations, astrogeological genesis control of hydrocarbons and origin of life on the earth // International Scientific and Practical Conference "Actual Problems of Petroleum Geology": Scientific Collection. St. Petersburg: VNIGRI, 2007. P. 119-128.
  6. V.A. Yepifanov. The contribution of the Tomsk geological school in the idea of the pulsation development of the Earth. Proceedings of the Tomsk Polytechnic University. 2009. V. 314. 1. - P. 101-104.
  7. Lunar Time Table - article from Wikipedia with reference sources.

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Keywords for seeking about geochronology and stratigraphy:
astrogeochronology, geochronology, geochronological scale, geochronologic timescale, planetar time-scales, geological eras, stages of the Globe history, Earths crust cyclic evolution rhythm, Galactic year, Galaxy rotation effect, Milky Way cyclic influence, galactocycle, galacycle, geocataclysms, species extinctions, biologic catastrophes, ice ages, asteroid attacks, paleocontinental splits.

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