Thursday, August 05, 2021

Huge fluctuations in oxygen concentration during Cambrian Explosion and Expanding Earth model

I encountered two interesting articles related to the Great Oxidation Event that started long before the Cambrian Explosion (CE) and reached its climax during CE (about 541 million years ago) leading to the oxygen based multicellular life in a very rapid time scale.

The standard view is that oceans before CE had very low oxygen content. The emergence of photosynthesizing cyanobacteria producing oxygen as a side product led to the oxygenation of the atmosphere and to mysteriously rapid evolution of life. How this is possible at all is not understood.

The first article (see this) proposes that the slowing down of the spinning of Earth was somehow related to this.

The second article in Quanta Magazine (see this) tells about finding that during the Cambrian Explosion (see this") the oxygen content of the studied shallow ocean show fluctuations with with about 4-5 peaks. The reduction/increase of the oxygen content was even 40 per cent, which is a huge number. The reduction of oxygen content caused extinctions and its increase was accompanied by the emergence of new species. The mystery is how this could happen so fast and which caused the fluctuations.

1. Expanding Earth hypothesis

Expanding Earth theory hypothesis is not originally TGD based but TGD provides its realization. The proposal is that the Cambrian Explosion was caused by a rapid increase of the radius of Earth by factor 2 (see this and this).

This hypothesis also solves one of the basic mysteries of cosmology. Astrophysical objects participate in cosmological expansion by comoving with it but do not expand themselves. Why? The prediction that the expansion of the astrophysical objects did not occur smoothly but as rapid phase transitions and the expansion was very slow in the intermediate states. Cambrian Explosion would correspond to one particular jerk of this kind in which the radius of Earth grew by a factor 2 (p-adic length scale hypothesis). The length of the day increased by factor 4 from conservation of angular momentum. This might relate to the conjecture of the first article.

The rapid expansion led to the breakage of the Earth crust and to the birth of plate tectonics. It also led to the burst of underground oceans to the surface of the Earth. The photosynthesizing multicellular life had developed in these oceans and emerged almost instantaneously and led to a rapid oxygenation of the atmosphere. One can say that life evolved in the womb of Mother Gaia shielded from meteorites and cosmic rays. No superfast evolution was needed. Already Charles Darwin realized that the sudden appearance of trilobites was a heavy objection against the theory of natural selection.

Possible scenarios for the phase transition are discussed here. The thickening of magnetic flux tubes for water blobs at the surface of Earth led to the increase of the volume of water blob and induced the increase of heff a factor 2 for valence electrons but not for the inner electrons. Since valence electrons are responsible for chemistry, atoms became effectively dark and the water blobs could leak to the interior of Earth. By their darkness they could have much lower temperature and pressure than the matter around them and the life could evolve.

2. How photosynthesis was possible underground?

What made photosynthesis possible in the underground oceans? One possible explanation is that the photons from the Sun propagated along flux tubes of the "endogenous" part of the Earth's magnetic field as dark photons with heff=nh_0>h. Endogenous part would be the part of Earth's magnetic field with a strength about 2/5 of the Earth's magnetic field for which flux tubes carry monopole flux: this is possible in TGD but not in Maxwell's theory.

Since these photons behave like dark matter with respect to the ordinary matter, they were not absorbed considerably and reached the water blobs (or actually their magnetic bodies consisting of flux tubes) in underground oceans having a portion with the same value of heff>h. Of course, several values of heff were possible since this is the case in quantum critical system (large values of heff characterize the quantum scales of long range fluctuations). One can also consider other variants of the model. The ordinary matter in Earth's crust had heff =h/2 and photons with heff=h propagated to the interior and reached the water blobs with heff=h.

3. The sudden emergence of multicellulars and oxygen fluctuations

Before the expansion period was much like the surface of Mars now and contained no oceans, perhaps some ponds allowing primitive monocellular lifeforms. As the ground of Earth broke here and there during the rapid expansion period, lakes and oceans were formed at the surface of Earth. The multicellulars bursted to these oceans and oxygenation of the atmosphere started locally.

Since the oxygen rich water was mixed with the water in the shallow oceans, the local oxygen content of the burst water was reduced and this led to an eventual extinction of many multicellulars in the burst. Burgess Shale fauna contained entire classes, which suffered extinction. In the average sense the oxygen concentration increased and led to the apparent very rapid evolution of multicellulars, which had actually already occurred underground. Of course, also evolution at the surface of Earth took place.

See the article Updated version of Expanding Earth model or the chapter Expanding Earth Model and Pre-Cambrian Evolution of Continents, Climate, and Life .

For a summary of earlier postings see Latest progress in TGD.

Articles and other material related to TGD. 

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