Every day, the Sun emits energy that reaches the Earth. Known as solar storms , these are astronomical events in which the wind from our star reaches the atmosphere at the planet's poles. This phenomenon is not new. On the contrary, its intensity increases and decreases over time.  

7500 years ago, a solar flare peaked so powerful that was recorded in tree rings. 

Trees grow from the inside out. Every year, a ring is defined inside the trunks. These dead wood circles are also records of the natural history of the environment in which they grew and developed. In this ring it is possible to find valuable information about its growth and details of life.  

Just over seven millennia ago, there was a searing solar explosion of energetic particles so strong that, according to a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters , it was imprinted on the bark of prehistoric trees. From carbon-14 tests, scientists realized that every time these solar bursts hit the Earth, these events hit the trees as well, as if it were a sunburn.       

This phenomenon is known as a solar energetic particle (SEP) event, the authors detail in a statement. Upon entering the Earth's atmosphere, it interacts with plant species. Eventually, the solar energy particles are incorporated into the structure of the tree. From the reading of these wood logs, experts have been able to determine the intensity of solar winds in the past.  

After the solar explosion of 7,500 years ago, other similar events have occurred on the planet. All have been manifested in the tree rings, and have been dated to different periods in history. To test the hypothesis, the scientists decided to sample different species from distant countries.  

To see if the effect was the same, they considered a California pine, a Finnish pine, and a Swiss larch. Despite being different trees located miles apart, they shared the same solar impact marks. What was truly surprising was the fact that the temporal distance also corresponds to the peaks with the highest solar activity, with periods of 11 years between them. 

This is the same cycle that has been identified today between solar winds. Although these marks have been imprinted inside the trees, there is no evidence that these phenomena affect life on Earth as we know it. The magnetic field of our planet offers a natural protection against these types of events, which would otherwise be devastating for the biosphere. ( National Geographic ) (Photos: Getty Images )     


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