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The Moon might be younger than previously thought

by Julia
August 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm

According to a new study by a team of American researchers, the Moon was formed later than previously thought.

The main theory of the origin of the Moon claims that it was formed after a massive impact between an object the size of a planet and the proto-Earth. The energy that resulted from this impact was strong enough that the Moon formed from melted material thrown into space. As the moon cooled, the magma solidified into several mineral components.

Researchers analyzed lunar rock samples believed to have derived from the magma that formed Earth’s moon. This way, they could estimate the Moon’s age.

According to this theory on the formation of the Moon, a type of rock called ferroan anorthosite (FAN) is the oldest type of rock in the Moon’s crust. Until now, scientists have failed to date FAN samples.

The team estimated the FAN sample’s age at 4.36 billion years. Until now, scientists believed that the moon is about as old as our solar system which is 4.568 billion years old.

“The extraordinarily young age of this lunar sample either means that the Moon solidified significantly later than previous estimates, or that we need to change our entire understanding of the Moon’s geochemical history,” one of the researchers said.

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