Proposed law of nature linking impacts, plume volcanism, and Milankovitch cycles to terrestrial vertebrate mass extinctions via greenhouse-embryo death coupling
- Mclean, D. M.
- JAN 1, 1994.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
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- A greenhouse-physiological coupling killing mechanism active among mammals, birds, and reptiles has been identified. Operating via environmental thermal effects upon the maternal core-skin blood flow critical to the survival and development of embryos, it reduces the flow of blood to the uterine tract. Today, during hot summers, this phenomena kills embryos on a vast, global scale. Because of sensitivity of many mammals to modern heat, a major modern greenhouse could reduce population numbers on a global scale, and potentially trigger population collapses in the more vulnerable parts of the world. In the geological past, the killing mechanism has likely been triggered into action by greenhouse warming via impact events, plume volcanism, and Earth orbital variations (Milankovitch cycles). Earth's biosphere is maintained and molded by the flow of energy from the solar energy source to Earth and on to the space energy sink (SES). This SES energy flow maintains Earth's biosphere and its living components, as open, intermediate, dissipative, nonequilibrium systems whose states are dependent upon the rate of energy flowing through them. Greenhouse gases such as CO2 in the atmosphere influence the SES energy flow rate. Steady-state flow is necessary for global ecological stability (autopoiesis). Natural fluctuations of the C cycle such as rapid releases of CO2 from the mantle, or oceans, disrupt steady-state SES flow. These fluctuations constantly challenge the biosphere; slowdown of SES energy flow drives it toward thermodynamical equilibrium and stagnation. Fluctuations induced by impact event, mantle plume volcanism, and Milankovitch cycles can grow into structure-breaking waves triggering major perturbations of Earth's C cycle and mass extinctions. A major C cycle perturbation involves readjustment of the outer physiochemical spheres of the Earth: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere; and by necessity, the biosphere. A greenhouse, one manifestation of a major C cycle perturbation, is the most dangerous natural phenomenon that life on Earth can experience. Greenhouse conditions existed during the KT mass extinctions of 65 m.y. ago, and the Pleistocene-Holocene (P-H) mammalian extinctions of 10,000-12,000 yr ago. Coupling climatology to reproductive physiology via effects of ambient air temperature upon uterine blood flow to developing embryos accounts for the extinctions via established physiological principles.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 19940023804.
Accession ID: 94N28307.
Houston Univ., New Developments Regarding the KT Event and Other Catastrophes in Earth History; p 82-83.
- No Copyright.
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