A 100,000-Year Periodicity in the Accretion Rate of Interplanetary Dust
Numerical modeling of the orbital evolution of interplanetary dust particles revealed that, over the past 1.2 million years, the rate of accretion of dust by Earth has varied by a factor of 2 to 3. These variations display a 100,000-year periodicity and are anticorrelated with Earth's changing orbital eccentricity. Extraterrestrial helium-3 concentrations in a deep-sea sediment core display a similar periodicity but are 50,000 years out of phase with the predicted variations. Also, because collisions between large bodies in the asteroid belt are inevitable, it is expected that large-amplitude stochastic variations on 10(7)- to 10(8)-year time scales would be superimposed on the 10(5)-year periodic variations.