Earth's oldest rock found on Moon

Katie Ramirez
January 27, 2019

The rock was formed between 4 and 4.1 billion years ago.

In 1971, Apollo 14 astronauts brought home various minerals and rock samples from their brief lunar voyage.

The rock is composed of quartz, feldspar, and zircon, all commonly found on Earth and highly unusual on the Moon. That seems to have changed, however, because a group of scientists recently announced they've found a rock that formed only half a billion years after the Earth itself.

The Apollo missions brought back a whole lot of rock samples, and scientists have been methodically analyzing them ever since. If it were to be created on the moon, researchers would have to rethink all they know about the moon's interior and surface from the past.

The mineralogy, the article states, "represents pressure, temperature, and oxidation conditions not known for the Moon" and, more excitingly, is "potentially the first evidence of a terrestrial meteorite".

"It's quite a violent process and chemistry changes as a result of that".

He said: "We can all see those pockmarks on the Moon and it is just fascinating to look at them and think we can exploit data being collected as speak to further our understanding of how our Earth has been affected by these events over time". If it had formed on the Moon, that would require conditions never before inferred from lunar samples. This stone was blended with other lunar surface materials along these lines into one example.

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Chemical analysis of the fragment showed it crystallized in an environment that could be found on ancient Earth but not on the moon, said the team led by Jeremy Bellucci and Alexander Nemchin at the Swedish Museum of Natural History and Curtin University in Australia. Impacts of this magnitude were capable of pulling out materials from deep within the Earth's surface.

The voyaging Earth rock soon made its way to the moon, which was then about three times closer to our planet than it is today.

"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", he said. The researchers believe that one or more impact events to the planet's surface revealed the rock before it was launched.

Now, 48 years on, experts are claiming that this relic was once part of Earth after it ended up on the moon after large comet or asteroid collided with the planet.

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.

Principal investigator of the mission, Dr David A Kring, admitted that these findings will prove controversial, as being the first find of its kind means it will be put under more scrutiny in order to locate similar samples.

The research is supported by NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) through a cooperative agreement with the CLSE, a joint venture between the LPI and NASA's Johnson Space Center.

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