Radioactive Iron Rain: Evidence of a Recent Nearby Supernova Explosion

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A very close supernova explosion could have caused a mass extinction

of life in Earth. In 1996, Brian Fields, the late Dave Schramm and the
speaker proposed looking for unstable isotopes such as Iron 60 that could
have been deposited by a recent nearby supernova explosion. A group from
the Technical University of Munich has discovered Iron 60 in deep-ocean
sediments and ferromanganese crusts due to one or more supernovae that
exploded O(100) parsecs away about 2.5 million years ago. These results
have recently been confirmed by a group from the Australian National
University, and the Munich group has also discovered supernova Iron 60 in
lunar rock samples and in microfossils of magnetotactic bacteria. 
This colloquium will discuss the data and their interpretation
in terms of supernova models, and the possible implications for
life on Earth.