Science Channel - InSCIder

12 Jun

Earth and Moon Are 60 Million Years Older Than We Thought

When it comes to the age of our planet and moon, what's a few million years here and there?

Scientists at the University of Lorraine in France presented research at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference revealing "that the Earth-shattering cosmic impact that laid waste to our young Earth and formed the moon happened 60 million years earlier than thought."

Yes, scientists were off by 60 million years when it came to dating Earth and the moon.

Guillaume Avice and Bernard Marty made their discovery by analyzing xenon gas in quartz from in Australia and South Africa.

"Recalibrating dating techniques using the ancient gas allowed them to refine the estimate of when the Earth began to form," according to the European Association of Geochemistry. "This allows them to calculate that the Moon-forming impact is around 60 million years (+/- 20 m. y.) older than had been thought."

While we can joke about 60 million years being merely a blink of an eye in the lifespan of the universe (which is approximately 13.8 billion years old), the age of Earth and the moon really do matter.

"These differences set time boundaries on how the planets evolved," researcher Marty said, "especially through the major collisions in deep time which shaped the solar system."

Explore the moon

and the Earth.

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