Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Computer simulations show the effect of primordial black hole striking the Earth would resemble a very minor earthquake felt all over the planet.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Black holes have captured the imagination of scientists and amateur enthusiasts for years. The idea of some dark entity out there in the far reaches of space sucking up anything and everything that ventures near with such power and force that even light can’t escape it’s clutches, both enthralls and terrifies. Thus, the idea of one moving close enough to our planet would seem good reason to hit the panic button. But, in some cases, it appears, it might not be such a bad thing, at least if it were very, very small. That’s what one small group of researchers has concluded after simulating the effects of one tiny black hole hitting and passing through the Earth, on a computer. They have posted their ideas and conclusions on the preprint server arXiv.
The reason the research team began simulating minuscule black holes and what impact they might have if they struck the Earth, is because they believe that such black holes, if they truly do exist, would have to have dark matter as one of its components. Thus, if they can prove that tiny black holes exist, such as by proving that they have left evidence behind when striking the Earth, they would have gone a long ways towards offering proof that dark matter exists. Something no one else thus far has been able to do.
The good news is that their simulations show that if such black holes did strike the Earth, the impact would be negligible, similar they say, to a very minor earthquake felt all over the planet. This is because they are so small, on the order of the diameter of atomic nuclei and travel so fast. They estimate it would take less than a minute for one to make it all the way through the Earth and out the other side. The bad news, at least for researchers, is that such collisions are only predicted to occur every few million years or so.