William Napier (astronomer) and Victor Clube in their 1979 Nature Magazine article, 'A Theory of Terrestrial Catastrophism', proposed the idea that gravitational disturbances caused by the Solar System crossing the plane of the Milky Way galaxy are enough to disturb comets in the Oort cloud surrounding the Solar System. This sends comets in towards the inner Solar System, which raises the chance of an impact. According to the hypothesis, this results in the Earth experiencing large impact events about every 30 million years (such as the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event).
Over 15 years later, Michael R. Rampino and Bruce Haggerty renamed Napier and Clube's Theory of Terrestrial Catstrophism after Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Though Rampino and Haggerty do not reference Napier and Clube's original 1979 article in Nature Magazine, they do reference Clube and Napier's later paper which demonstrates the requisite gravitational forces. Certainly Rampino was aware of Napier and Clube's much earlier publication, as Rampino and Stothers' letter to Nature Magazine in 1984 references it. This theory may have inspired the theory for the brown dwarf named Nemesis which causes extinctions every 26 million years, which varies slightly from 30 million years.
- Napier, WM; Clube, SVM (1979). "A theory of terrestrial catastrophism". Nature. 282: 455–459. Bibcode:1979Natur.282..455N. doi:10.1038/282455a0.
- Rampino, Michael R.; Haggerty, Bruce M. (February 1996). "The ?Shiva Hypothesis?: Impacts, mass extinctions, and the galaxy". Earth, Moon, and Planets. 72 (1–3): 441–460. Bibcode:1996EM&P...72..441R. doi:10.1007/BF00117548.
- Clube, SVM; Napier, WM (1984). "Comet capture from molecular clouds: A dynamical constraint on star and planet formation". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Oxford University Press. 208 (3): 575–588. Bibcode:1984MNRAS.208..575C. doi:10.1093/mnras/208.3.575.
- Rampino, Michael R; Stothers, Richard B (1984). "Terrestrial mass extinctions, cometary impacts and the Sun's motion perpendicular to the galactic plane". Nature. 308 (5961): 709–712. Bibcode:1984Natur.308..709R. doi:10.1038/308709a0.
There is a blackened death metal band from The Netherlands called The Shiva Hypothesis.
- Napier and Clube's 1979 article "A Theory of Terrestrial Catastrophism"
- A description of the Shiva hypothesis by Michael Rampino
- Asteroid/Comet Impact Craters and Mass Extinctions and Shiva Hypothesis of Periodic Mass Extinctions, by Michael Paine
- The "Shiva Hypothesis": Impacts, Mass Extinctions, and the Galaxy, by Rampino and Haggerty
- The Shiva hypothesis: impacts, mass extinctions, and the Galaxy, by Rampino, M. R.
- The correlation between mas extinctions and impacts of near-Earth objects. The review of Shiva hypothesis, by Yang Su, Yi Xia and Yanan Zhang.
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