Solar Flare and radio-active elements on earth

25 Aug 2010

At ... researchers at Stanford have discovered a link between solar flares and the inner life of radio-aactive elements on earth, which sparked a hunt to find out why as it was important for the wellbeing of space walking astronauts of the future. The radioactive decay of some elements on earth seemed to be influenced by activity within the Sun - but why? It is generally thought the decay rate of radioactive materials is a constant. The concelt is important as the decay rate is used to date archaeology and geology - such as by the C14 methodology. That assumption was challenged by a group of researchers at Purdue University - who were actually investigating something quite different. They found the decay rate showed a seasonal variation - small but significant. It was later found that solar flares caused the rate of decay to decrease - but what was in the flare that had this effect then became the problem (the research has been ongoing for some time between different sets of scientists). It was suspected neutrinos were the culprit as the seasonal swings seemed to synchronise with earth's elliptical orbit, the decay rates oscillating as the earth came closer to the Sun and then moving away. It was now thought the core of the Sun, where nucleur reactions produce neutrinos, spins more slowly than the surface of the Sun, a notion that came about as the variation in decay rates was slower (33 days as opposed to 28 days) than the accepted rotation rate of the Sun. Even then, the explanation is only partial as not one knows why neutrinos should interact with radioactive material in order to change the rate of decay - but not only that, nobody has investigated what might happen during major solar flaring incidents and a myriad other inter-rrelated questions.

Note... the change in decay rate is not great and definitely not enough to think in terms of major changes in C14 methodology. It may however help explain why C14 is known to increase or decrease and affect C14 dates in the short term, and for an example see Mike Baillie in New Light on the Black Death, Tempus: 2006.