Monday, 27 July 2015


Via the provocatively peripatetic Dark Roasted Blend (which I’ve sadly overlooked for too long), I learnt that in Gabon in Western Central Africa research on a cluster of sites near abandoned uranium mines confirmed in the early 1970s the primordial existence of a previous hypothesised possibility of sustained field of naturally occurring nuclear fission. While it’s doubtlessly outstanding that some clever geologist might cross disciplines and posit that a spontaneous event and arbitrary arrangement, the composition of the veins of the underground especially so shortly after human had managed to harness this power artificially (in the mid-1950s) and go about finding evidence of it—it makes me think about those coal fires that have gone on smouldering because or despite of our estimation of it (scientists believe that this reaction lasted for hundreds of thousands of years, while our experiment has only gone off for a few decades), it is to my mind even more spectacular that this so far unique event is accessible to science with some degree of surety considering it happened nearly two billion years ago.
Although the geological record can to some degree be rewound back all those epochs—when Gabon and Africa was not where it is today or maybe under the oceans, there’s certainly no archaeological or even hard biological evidence that’s available as a point of reference. Only the mathematically reducible half-life of nuclear isotopes leave a trace that can be extrapolated. I wonder if it’s assumed that there’s a natural aversion to such a set-up, that entropy eschews this arrangement. Other than these obedient numbers that date and betray the rate of decay after the spark is ignited—plus exhausted mines when all the useful stuff is carted away, there’s little trace of this infernal landscape—expect that others have suggested that another, more violent spontaneous event a couple of billions of years earlier might have been responsible for the creation of the Moon. The majority of astronomers believe that a meteoric impact that’s marred in the Gulf of Mexico ejected the mass that’s now our natural satellite into orbit but a nuclear explosion along the Equator could also have produced it—and in Pangaea, Africa and South America were kissing-cousins. I wonder if such natural fission might be taking place on other planets and possible explain some of the unexpected. Be sure to visit Dark Roasted Blend for further wonderments and curiosities.