Zircon dating rocks
Their work will be published online in Nature on August The prevailing theory of our Moon's origin is that it was created by a giant impact between a large planet-like object and the proto-Earth. The energy of this impact was sufficiently high that the Moon formed from melted material that zircon dating rocks ejected into space.
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As the Moon cooled, this magma solidified into zircon dating rocks mineral components. Analysis of lunar rock samples thought to have been derived from the original magma has given scientists a new estimate of the Moon's age.
According to this theory for lunar formation, a rock type called ferroan anorthosite, or FAN, is the oldest of the Moon's crustal rocks, but scientists have had difficulty dating FAN samples. The research team, led by Lars E. Connelly of the University of Copenhagen.
The team analyzed the isotopes of the elements lead and neodymium to place the FAN sample's age at 4. This figure is significantly younger than earlier estimates of the Moon's age that range as old as the age of the solar system at 4. The new, younger age obtained for the oldest lunar crust is similar to ages obtained for the oldest terrestrial minerals--zircons from western Australia--suggesting that the oldest crusts on both Earth and Moon formed at approximately the same time, and that this time dates from shortly after the giant zircon dating rocks.
This study is the first in which a single sample of FAN yielded consistent ages from multiple isotope dating techniques. This result strongly suggests that these ages pinpoint the time at which the sample crystallized.
The Carnegie Institution for Science carnegiescience. Since its founding inthe Carnegie Institution has been a pioneering force in basic scientific research. Carnegie scientists are leaders in plant biology, developmental biology, astronomy, materials science, global ecology, and Earth and planetary science.
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