Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Earth’s oldest known rock found on Moon

Apollo Astronauts May Have Found the Oldest Earth Rock We Know On the Moon We May Have Found Earth's Oldest Known Rock. It Was on The Moon
Sandra Phillips | 27 January, 2019, 20:26

Scientists have discovered the rock decades ago by the Apollo 14 crew.

The researchers found a two gramme fragment of rock composed of quartz, feldspar, and zircon, all commonly found on Earth and highly unusual on the Moon.

Chemical analyses showed the fragment crystallized in an oxidized environment at temperatures consistent with those near the subsurface of young Earth. The rock was formed between 4 and 4.1 billion years ago.

"Further impacts on the moon at later times would have mixed the Earth rocks with lunar rocks, including at the future Apollo 14 landing site, where it was collected by astronauts and brought back home to the Earth", explained Nemchin. This same impact created the Cone Crater that astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell explored and sampled during their moon mission almost half a decade ago.

The researchers believe that this impact helped bring the piece of Earth back to the moon's surface. He holds a B.A.in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

It is conceivable that the example isn't of the terrestrial source, yet rather crystallized on the Moon, nonetheless, that would require conditions at no other time gathered from lunar examples. The Earth itself is around 4.5 billion years old, and the oldest rocks we've ever found are a little over half that age.

A lot of the rocks we have on Earth aare pretty old, but none of them were around when our planet was first formed. Impact craters, some flooded by shallow seas, cover large swaths of the Earth's surface.

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New research published this week in Earth and Planetary Science Letters is claiming that a rock fragment embedded within lunar sample 14321 - a 900g rock known as Big Bertha - is of terrestrial origin.

Once that information sinks in, imagine how the trajectory of the rock billions of years ago when asteroids hit our planet. Then, a massive collision between Earth and a comet or asteroid threw the rock to the Moon.

Available evidence suggests that the fragment crystallised about 20 km beneath the Earth's surface, and was launched into space by a powerful impact shortly thereafter.

The rock probably stayed buried for eons until around 26 million years ago when another asteroid impact, this time on the moon, produced the 340 m wide Cone Crater.

Figuring out exactly how this Earth rock got mixed up with moon rocks might be more hard, although there are theories.

By contrast, the terrestrial conditions seem much more likely - even if it seems a spectacular coincidence that this tiny fragment was later returned to Earth. So, it is possible that in the early years of our Solar System when large asteroids were everywhere, that one of them hit the Earth and sent debris flying into space, and one of these rocks landed on our satellite's surface.

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