4bn-year-old 'Earth rock' found in Apollo 14 crew's moon haul

Christopher Davidson
January 29, 2019

Australian scientists studying lunar rock samples have found one of the rocks' compositions to be highly indicative that it was in fact formed on Earth, causing them to speculate that it was thrown there when an asteroid struck our planet billions of years ago. These Live Streaming and Time Lapse Videos From ISS Will Leave You Spellbound.

The evidence gathered by the team shows that this fragment formed 4.1 - 4 billion years ago at nearly 20 km under Earth's surface. Imagine the surprise when scientists found that one such rock was terrestrial in origin - to top it all off, it's also Earth's oldest rock found thus far.

Nope. According to an global team of scientists, there's evidence the rock was terrestrial in origin - it's a 2-gram piece of quartz, feldspar, and zircon embedded in a larger chunk of rock called Big Bertha - minerals that are rare on the Moon, but really common here on Earth.

Chemical analyses showed the fragment crystallized in an oxidized environment at temperatures consistent with those near the subsurface of young Earth.

'It is an extraordinary find that helps paint a better picture of early Earth and the bombardment that modified our planet during the dawn of life, ' said NASA scientist Dr David Kring, who led the research.

The researchers said there is a possibility the sample crystallized on the Moon and isn't from Earth. However, conditions at no other time gathered from lunar examples would be required along with an example, in the lunar mantle, to have framed at huge profundities where many other rocks were combined together.

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"The age of the zircon mineral found in the lunar sample is quoted as circa 4.01 billion years old, which makes it a very old piece of Earth (if this research is correct), but it's not the oldest", Dodd told Gizmodo. The moon was about three times closer to Earth than it is today, it should be mentioned.

The final impact that affected the rock happened about 26m years ago when an asteroid slammed into the moon and made the Cone crater, measuring 340 metres wide and 75 metres deep, near the Apollo 14 landing site.

The Earth is believed to have been formed in the early Solar System almost 4.5 billion years ago. After that period, the Moon was affected by smaller and less frequent impact events.

The fragment of Earth was blasted off the planet during a powerful impact some 4 billion years ago, researchers said. That confirmed the scientists' belief that the rock originated from our planet.

The researchers believe that a large comet or asteroid hit Earth and sent the rock up through the atmosphere and into space.

Kring expects that some geologists in the scientific community won't accept the finding because it seems controversial. Dr. Katharine Robinson, a postdoctoral researcher at the LPI, was also involved in the study, as were Dr. Marion Grange (Curtin University), Dr. Gareth Collins (Imperial College London), Dr. Martin Whitehouse (Swedish Museum of Natural History), Dr. Josh Snape (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), and Prof.

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