The popular theory about the formation of the Moon holds that it was created when a mysterious planet slammed into Earth about 4.56 billion years ago. (Agencies)
However, a new analysis of the lunar rocks suggests that the Moon, which likely coalesced from the debris blasted into space by this huge impact, is actually between 4.4 billion and 4.45 billion years old, a website reported.
Researchers said the discovery, according to which the
Moon is 100 million years younger than earlier thought, could change our understanding of the early Earth as well as its natural satellite.
"There are several important implications of this late
Moon formation that has not yet been worked out," Richard Carlson, of the Carnegie Institution for Science, said.
"For example, if the Earth was already differentiated prior to the giant impact, would the impact have blown off the primordial atmosphere that formed from this earlier epoch of Earth history?" said Carlson.
Our Moon is believed to have harbored a global ocean of molten rock shortly after its dramatic formation. The most accurately determined age for the lunar rocks that arose from that ocean is 4.360 billion years, said researchers.
Scientists have found signs on the Earth in several locations of a major melting event that occurred around 4.45 billion years ago.
Researchers said evidence is building that the catastrophic collision that formed the Moon and reshaped Earth occurred around that time, rather than 100 million years or so before.
The popular theory about the formation of the Moon holds that it was created when a mysterious planet slammed into Earth about 4.56 billion years ago.