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Thread: Earth Punctured by Tiny Cosmic Missiles

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Earth Punctured by Tiny Cosmic Missiles

    Earth Punctured by Tiny Cosmic Missiles
    FORGET dangers from giant meteors: Earth is facing another threat from outer space. Scientists have come to the conclusion that two mysterious explosions in the 1990s were caused by bizarre cosmic missiles.

    The two objects were picked up by earthquake detectors as they tore through Earth at up to 900,000 mph. According to scientists, the most plausible explanation is that they were "strangelets", clumps of matter that have so far defied detection but whose existence was posited 20 years ago.

    Formed in the Big Bang and inside extremely dense stars, strangelets are thought to be made from quarks - the subatomic particles found inside protons and neutrons. Unlike ordinary matter, however, they also contain "strange quarks", particles normally only seen in high-energy accelerators.

    Strangelets - sometimes also called strange-quark nuggets - are predicted to have many unusual properties, including a density about ten million million times greater than lead. Just a single pollen-size fragment is believed to weigh several tons.

    They are thought to be extremely stable, travelling through the galaxy at speeds of about a million miles per hour. Until now, all attempts to detect them have failed. A team of American scientists believes, however, that it may have found the first hard evidence for the existence of strangelets, after scouring earthquake records for signs of their impact with Earth.

    The team, from the Southern Methodist University in Texas, analysed more than a million earthquake reports, looking for the tell-tale signal of strangelets hitting Earth.

    While their very high speed gives strangelets a huge amount of energy their tiny size suggests that any effects might be extremely localised, and there is unlikely to be a blast big enough to have widespread effects on the surface.

    The scientists looked for events producing two sharp signals, one as it entered Earth, the other as it emerged again. They found two such events, both in 1993. The first was on the morning of October 22. Seismometers in Turkey and Bolivia recorded a violent event in Antarctica that packed the punch of several thousand tons of TNT. The disturbance then ripped through Earth on a route that ended with it exiting through the floor of the Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka just 26 seconds later - implying a speed of 900,000 mph.

    The second event took place on November 24, when sensors in Australia and Bolivia picked up an explosion starting in the Pacific south of the Pitcairn Islands and travelling through Earth to appear in Antarctica 19 seconds later.

    According to the scientists, both events are consistent with an impact with strangelets at cosmic speeds. In a report about to be submitted to the Seismological Society of America, the team of geologists and physicists concludes: "The only explanation for such events of which we are aware is passage through the earth of ton-sized strange-quark nuggets."

    Professor Eugene Herrin, a member of the team, said that two strangelets just one-tenth the breadth of a hair would account for the observations. "These things are extremely dense and travel at 40 times the speed of sound straight through the Earth - they'd hardly slow down as they went through."

    The good news is that, despite their force, the impact of strangelets on an inhabited area would, probably, be less violent than that of a meteor. Prof Herrin said: "It's very hard to determine what the effect would be. There would probably be a tiny crater but it would be virtually impossible to find anything."

    Scientists say that the discovery of strangelets would be a significant breakthrough, solving several long-standing mysteries. These include the nature of "dark matter", which, astronomers say, makes up more than 90 per cent of our galaxy. With their high density and stability, strangelets may account for much of this invisible matter.

    Prof Frank Close, a particle physicist at Oxford University, said that confirmation of the events was crucial. "The first step is to see if one can find more examples and eliminate all other interpretations," he said. "If you're looking for very exotic and rare events, you need to be able to tell if it's the real thing or just an artifact."

    According to Prof Herrin, the two events agree with predictions for strangelet impacts, which are expected to occur about once a year. He added, however, that finding more would be difficult, as seismic databases now automatically remove all signals not linked to earthquakes. He said: "To find more events we need to get at the data before that happens."

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    Forum General Brian Baldwin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Earth Punctured by Tiny Cosmic Missiles

    So what magnitude of Seismic activity do they leave in their wake? And what would happen if one hit a person? A building? An A-Bomb Factory?

    Brian
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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Earth Punctured by Tiny Cosmic Missiles

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Baldwin
    So what magnitude of Seismic activity do they leave in their wake? And what would happen if one hit a person? A building? An A-Bomb Factory?

    Brian
    This exchange between two FR members on that above linked thread is the best explanation I have seen as to why this doesn't cause huge damage when they impact with the Earth:

    To: Alright_on_the_LeftCoast; CarrotAndStick

    I find it difficult to believe that something weighing several tons would not cause significant damage at impact....defies common sense...is it the mass or weight of an object that causes damage?

    Mass.

    A meteor weighing several tons would be a catastrophe...yet this isn't? It seems it would produce the same result as a bullet passing through an object, leaving a MUCH bigger hole where it exits....very strange...

    Except that the cross-section is so tiny. In bullets, for example, even for the same mass and velocity, a higher-caliber (i.e. "fatter") bullet will do more damage than a low-caliber ("skinny") bullet. In the extreme case, imagine a "bullet" which has the mass and velocity of a .45 caliber round, but the shape is like a very thin, very long metal rod. It'll pass through you like a fast needle, doing very little damage outside of the small hole it makes, and most of the energy/momentum of the projectile will just "pass through" your body and keep flying out on the other side -- the amount of energy imparted to the body itself will be much smaller, compared to the effect of a bullet which "mushrooms" to a fatter diameter, like a hollowpoint bullet.

    These "stranglets", if they exist, have a lot of mass, but are so very tiny in size that they interact with a lot less of the Earth's material on their way through, compared to a "fat" asteroid of the same mass.

    25 posted on 08/13/2005 2:21:25 PM EDT by Ichneumon
    Also, consider just how much empty space is found within each atom since not all atoms are as dense as these strangelets. So, they really end up missing a lot of matter entirely.

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    Default Re: Earth Punctured by Tiny Cosmic Missiles

    Guys,


    I find this topic to be completely fascinating. I have done some searching and found the following article at the Space.Com website.


    Stranger than Fiction? Strangelets Bombard Earth
    By SPACE.com Staff

    posted: 03:36 pm ET
    13 May 2002


    A team of researchers claims to have found evidence in seismic records for terrestrial impacts of truly strange theoretical particles called strangelets. The particles are said to have ripped through Earth, emerging from the other side virtually unimpeded in their supersonic travels.

    The work, reported in London's Sunday Telegraph, has not been confirmed, nor has it gone through the typical review process of a refereed scientific paper.

    Strangelets are tiny but dense clumps of matter that were theorized two decades ago, but no one has ever seen them or proved they exist. They are thought to have formed during the Big Bang and inside dense stars and are made of subatomic particles called quarks and strange quarks. They are presumed to be 10 million times more dense than lead and to travel largely undetected through space at roughly 1 million mph.


    If they are firmly determined to exist, strangelets could help explain some of the so-called
    dark matter of the universe, missing mass that scientists say must be there based on the behavior of galaxies that could only be caused by gravity from some unseen stuff.

    A team of researchers from Southern Methodist University in Texas dug through old seismic records looking for signs of strangelets passing through, according to the article. They reportedly found two separate 1993 events in which localized earthquakes occurred and were matched seconds later by similar events on another part of the planet.

    One event was recorded by seismometers in Turkey and Bolivia, then followed 26 seconds later by some shaking near Sri Lanka. The other event began in Australia and Bolivia and was apparently matched 19 seconds later off Antarctica.

    Researchers believe other entirely harmless particles, called
    neutrinos, routinely pass through Earth undetected.

    It is not clear what if any effect a strangelet impact might have on inhabited areas.

    "It's very hard to determine what the effect would be," said Eugene Herrin in the Telegraph article. "There would probably be a tiny crater but it would be virtually impossible to find anything."

    Herrin said the seismic records were consistent with the theory of strangelets. But Frank Close, a particle physicist at Oxford University, said more examples would have to be found and studied to rule out other possibilities.

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronom...ts_020513.html



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    Default Re: Earth Punctured by Tiny Cosmic Missiles

    A good scientific definition I have found:

    Strangelets - Strange Quark Matter
    Strange quark matter (SQM) or strangelets are strange clusters containing a large number of delocalized quarks , in multiquark droplets. Multiquark states consisting only of u- and d-quarks have masses considerably larger than ordinary nuclei.
    Droplets of SQM, which would contain approximately the same amount of u-, d- and s-quarks (strangelets, strange multiquark clusters), might also be denser than ordinary nuclei. They might exist as long-lived exotic isomers of nuclear matter inside strange neutron stars.

    Speculations on the stability of strangelets are based on the following observations:

    The (weak) decay of a s-quark into a d-quark could be suppressed or forbidden because the lowest single particle states are occupied (Pauliblocking, analogous to the MEMO case discussed above).
    The strange quark mass can be lower than the Fermi energy of the u- or d-quark in such a dense quark droplet. Opening a new flavour degree of freedom therefore tends to lower the Fermi energy and hence also the mass per baryon of the strangelet (see Fig. 17), maybe even below the proton mass.

    http://www.th.physik.uni-frankfurt.d...er/node16.html

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