Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I've got three absolutely wild facts for you. One: it seems that the position of our solar system may have real effects on Earth's events, and not in an astrological way; two: Earth has a pulse, sort of, and three: those two things are related. Scientists from New York University and the Carnegie Institution of Science analyzed 89 major geological events from the past 260-million years — everything from mass extinctions to volcanic activity, sea-level fluctuations to continental plate shifts. And far from being totally arbitrary, these large-scale upheavals seem to come in pulses — pulses that look like this. These cataclysmic events seem to be grouped into 10 clusters, occurring every 27.5-million years or so, like an extremely slow heart rate, a pulse, if you will. And this means that geological events, like the movement of continental plates or volcanic eruptions, may actually be tied to something, and may even be influencing each other. And this is a departure from common geological thinking, which has traditionally viewed each of these events as separate, individual occurrences. One of the lead authors on this study has actually thought there could be a method to the madness of these events since he started studying their clustering back in 1984. But recent improvements in carbon dating have provided us with more detail on the exact where and when of all of these events, giving us a clearer and more accurate picture of the pattern. But just why and how would these events be grouped? Well, the researchers think it's linked to something going on inside the Earth, or something going on in space. The more interior hypothesis goes like this: Big chunks of shifting seafloor change sea levels; massive volcanic eruptions and tectonic shifts change atmospheric CO2. And all that good apocalyptic stuff is linked to some still-unidentified pattern in the convection of Earth's molten mantle. From core to atmospheric carbon, maybe it's all linked in a daisy chain of disaster. Alternatively, we gotta look out into space for our answers. Now, I did not know this, but our solar system apparently wobbles within our galaxy, and some hypothesize that this wobble may be exposing Earth to more cosmic rays every 27.5-million years or so, causing disturbances inside our planet. This wobble also exposes us to meteor showers that may mess things up on a cycle. Patterns in the way Earth, our solar system, and our galaxy each orbit and spin could also change the way gravity is pulling on our planet, maybe deforming the mantle inside the Earth and that's what's changing the movement of tectonic plates. Flippin' wild! Plus, there's an intriguing link between this event—pulse rhythm and a previously observed pattern of increases in impact craters— that's craters left behind by things that have smashed into Earth from space. This pattern of impacts seems to occur on a 26-37-million-year cycle, so researchers hypothesize that maybe whatever it is that's out in space regularly hurling things at us, may also be having an impact on the way our planet behaves from the inside out. Maybe that's what's behind these cyclical periods of upheaval. Now, at this point, your question might be, "When is the next one of these disaster pulses due?" According to the researchers' calculations, if things continue in this pattern, the next clump of chaos should be here in about... 20-million years, so we've got a little breathing room. Regardless of the amazingly out-there potential drivers of this pulse, the only thing we know for certain right now is that we have observed a pattern. What's next is finding out what's behind that pattern, diving deeper into exactly how that inner-Earth turmoil goes on to spark the other events... and looking a little farther out into the stars to see if this cycle here on Earth is part of an even bigger one within our galaxy. What do you think? Is this pattern caused just by inner-Earth cycling or is the alignment of the galaxy involved, too? Let us know down in the comments below and for more surprising Earth secrets, check out this video here. As always, thanks for watching, and I'll see ya next time on Seeker.