Friday, December 17, 2010

This snowball Earth



Saw this today from the BBC.  It's an article on how life on our world survived during the hypothetical phase called "Snowball Earth" about "700 million years ago."  Evidence found in Australia seems to point to the existence of turbulent seas during that period and underneath said water is where micro-organisms survived.
One important point that is emphasized is that the Snowball Earth hypothesis is just that.  There is contention over to just what extent the Earth was frozen over.  There are those that advocate for a "Slushball Earth," where super-arctic conditions were prevalent, but not ubiquitous.  If the world had truly been a "snowball," all life would have been eradicated and evolution would have taken a drastically different, if any, direction.

This may be a testament to the tenacity of life.  Living organisms might be like water: finding the path of least resistance around obstacles or wearing away at them until they give, adapting to what we might see as unthinkable conditions.  Discoveries like this may very well one day lead to a broadening of the definition for "conditions for life to form."
Might also come in handy if we need to know how to survive future frigid environments.  And given the potential for asteroid impacts or the self-inflicted wounds of man-made ecological disaster, that might not be so far fetched

On a bit of the same theme of "evolutionary direction of life" that I mentioned above, saw this link earlier in the week.  It is to a depiction of a theoretical humanoid that could have evolved if the dinosaurs had not died out.  Truly amazing.  Sort of looks like a Sleestak from Land of the Lost.  Sort of makes me wonder about those sightings of supposed lizard-like aliens.
But only sort of.

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1 comment:

  1. I propose that the “snow ball Earth” was brought to a close by the dust from a huge meteorite (the largest known on Earth) impacting Australia (see http://charles_w.tripod.com/antipode.html ) settling onto the ice and melting it by a bare soil warming affect (see http://charles_w.tripod.com/climate.html ) and thus initiating the Cambrian. The dust fertilizing the ocean probably contributed considerably to the explosion of life then. That initiation was probably considerably assisted by the subsequent release of methane gas from methane ice under the ocean floor and by dust from volcanic eruptions from the Bahamas Islands, which are located at the antipode (opposite side of a sphere) of the above impact. The close correlation of volcanoes on Mars with meteorite impacts at their antipodes gives supporting evidence for such a phenomenon.
    (see http://charles_w.tripod.com/dweber/mars_volcanos/mars_volcanos2.html ) for Mars.
    .
    Sincerely, Charles Weber

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