Dating the Moon’s basins

Dating the Moon’s basins

Impact cratering is a fundamental process in the Solar System, shaping asteroids, planets, and their satellites e. Unlike the Moon, whose surface has been modified by numerous large and small impacts for more than 4 billion years Ga, Gyr e. Degradation of terrestrial impact craters over time, exemplified by a number of simple, bowl-shaped impact craters that are most easily erased from the terrestrial impact cratering record. Its ejecta blanket forms a hummocky terrain surrounding the crater. Note the pronounced topography of the crater indicated by low-angle sunlight coming from the WSW. B The 1. After more than centuries of erosion, its topographic features have been smoothed out considerably compared with Meteor Crater. Photo taken during field expedition. The crater rim is less pronounced than those at Meteor Crater and Tswaing, and the crater bowl is filled with a thick pile of postimpact sediments, mainly lake sediments and alluvium.

Planetary and Space Science

Water ice is not restricted to Earth. Observations of interstellar clouds show that the building blocks of water, hydrogen and oxygen, are some of the most abundant elements in the Universe. The planets in our solar system are formed by a process called accretion , in which dust grains collide with each other and create larger clumps that again collide and so forth. Because the cloud of gas and dust from which our solar system formed was rich in hydrogen and oxygen, water is very abundant in our solar system.

Comet Hyakutake , captured in

Aggregation of such grains into a few huge planetary objects presents a formidable problem, as any model of planetary formation must explain the following.

Metrics details. Reconstruction of the eruption history of an active volcano is necessary to elucidate its volcanic activity and to assess the probability of its volcanic eruption. Yokodake volcano in central Japan is the only active volcano among the Yatsugatake volcano group. It has effused nine lava flows, most of which have not been dated.

For this study, we ascertained the eruption ages of the latest lava Y9 and second most recent lava Y8 using radiocarbon 14 C , thermoluminescence TL , and paleomagnetic dating methods. Results revealed the eruption ages of the two lava flows and the recent eruption history of Yokodake volcano.

How Old Is Earth?

If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to reset your password. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. We review the in situ geochronology experiments conducted by the Mars Science Laboratory mission’s Curiosity rover to understand when the Gale Crater rocks formed, underwent alteration, and became exposed to cosmogenic radiation. The sedimentary rocks underwent fluid-moderated alteration 2 Gyr later, which may mark the closure of aqueous activity at Gale Crater.

Over the past several million years, wind-driven processes have dominated, denuding the surfaces by scarp retreat.

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First Rock Dating Experiment Performed on Mars

A ccretion: The growth of planetary bodies from smaller objects by impact, one impact at a time. After formation, bodies are said to have “accreted” from small objects. A chondrite: A class of stony meteorites that crystallized from magmas. The term means without chondrules. A GB stars: Cool, luminous, and pulsating red giant stars. Most stars in the Universe that have left the main sequence will reach their final evolutionary stage as stars on the asymptotic giant branch AGB.

The terrestrial planets consist mostly of rocks and metals. They were Overview of Our Planetary System · Dating Planetary Surfaces.

However, the nature and timing of the lunar impactors — and indeed the lunar impact record itself — are not well understood. Investigations of the lunar impactor population over time have been undertaken and include analyses of orbital data and images; lunar, terrestrial, and other planetary sample data; and dynamical modelling. Here, the existing information regarding the nature of the lunar impact record is reviewed and new interpretations are presented.

Implications for the conditions required for the origin of life are addressed. As the nearest planetary neighbour to Earth, and one that has no atmosphere, no plate tectonics, and virtually no water, the Moon preserves a record of impacts since its formation 4. Consequently, the nature of the lunar impact flux has been a topic of enduring concern for the planetary science and astrobiology communities.

For the lunar community, refined constraints on the timing and duration of the lunar impact flux can lead to a better understanding of how the lunar surface has evolved, and in particular, the timing of the appearance of the large nearside impact basins and the extent of their ejecta. Importantly, the timing of the delivery of those impactors allows for improved understanding of the evolution of the Solar System in general. In particular, critical questions to be answered include 1 determining the form of the large-impact distribution with respect to time e.

Additionally, and of relevance to the astrobiology community, the lunar impact record serves as a touchstone on which impactor flux and distribution throughout the Solar System, and in particular, on a young potentially habitable Earth or other Earth-like planet , are based. Ages of lunar samples many of which have unknown provenances brought back by the Apollo astronauts and uncrewed Luna missions, ages of lunar meteorites with unknown locations of origins, stratigraphy e.

Since the arrival of Apollo and Luna mission samples to the present time, interpretations of lunar data, samples, and geology have changed, and with these changes, a new understanding of the lunar impact flux has emerged, one that has profound implications for the conditions under which early terrestrial life may have formed and survived. Early ideas regarding the lunar impact flux were proposed as a result of studies of the lunar surface.

The Space & Beyond Blog

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At a minimum, crater-age dating can tell you the relative ages of surfaces (which surface is older than another). Careful studies of how the craters.

One of the pressing questions about meteorites is what their Parent Planets were like – how large they were, and how evolved internally and externally. Part of answering this question involves knowing about the Ages of meteorites and ideally the planetary objects they came from. We do the measurement by chemically separating the parent and daughter elements from our sample meteorites, and examining the ratios of the Uranium and Lead isotopes in the sample via a technique called Mass Spectrometry.

When we do this, we discover that all but a few meteorites are very old – 4. A few, however, particularly the SNC meteorites, which we think are from Mars, and the “Lunar” meteorites recently found in Antarctica give us younger ages in some cases very much younger – the SNC rocks range in age from Million years to 4. That means at least some meteorites could actually have been knocked off existing planetary bodies.

But how can we be sure? A first step toward answering this question is finding out how old the Surfaces of existing planets are. While we think all planets originated with the Solar System, it’s clear that the surfaces of planets change with time, both due to internal processes on Earth, Plate Tectonics and the internal planetary convection that drives it recycles surficial rocks on timescales as short as Ma , and due to one particular externally derived process: Meteor Impacts.

How do we recognize the effects of meteor impacts? We look for Craters! As we’ll discuss this term, impact cratering is and has been the most common “geologic” process which occurs on planetary bodies in our Solar system. It has gone on since the planets formed by a process called Accretion essentially impacting and piling up of small bodies via gravitational effects , and continues today. Basically, there is a whole lot of planetary debris floating around out there most of it now coming from the Asteroid Belt , and over time it is drawn into the gravity fields of planets, where it lands explosively, making craters.


Although researchers have determined the ages of rocks from other planetary bodies, the actual experiments—like analyzing meteorites and moon rocks—have always been done on Earth. Now, for the first time, researchers have successfully determined the age of a Martian rock—with experiments performed on Mars. The work, led by geochemist Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology Caltech , could not only help in understanding the geologic history of Mars but also aid in the search for evidence of ancient life on the planet.

A fundamental problem in planetary science is determining how the surface of a For the other planets, like Mars, we will be unable to apply radiometric dating.

Planet Earth doesn’t have a birth certificate to record its formation, which means scientists spent hundreds of years struggling to determine the age of the planet. So, just how old is Earth? By dating the rocks in Earth’s ever-changing crust, as well as the rocks in Earth’s neighbors, such as the moon and visiting meteorites, scientists have calculated that Earth is 4.

Related: How Big is Earth? Scientists have made several attempts to date the planet over the past years. They’ve attempted to predict the age based on changing sea levels, the time it took for Earth or the sun to cool to present temperatures, and the salinity of the ocean. As the dating technology progressed, these methods proved unreliable; for instance, the rise and fall of the ocean was shown to be an ever-changing process rather than a gradually declining one.

And in another effort to calculate the age of the planet, scientists turned to the rocks that cover its surface. Scientists also must battle an issue called the Great Unconformity, which is where sedimentary layers of rock appear to be missing at the Grand Canyon, for example, there’s 1. There are multiple explanations for this uncomformity; in early , one study suggested that a global ice age caused glaciers to grind into the rock , causing it to disintegrate.

Plate tectonics then threw the crushed rock back into the interior of the Earth, removing the old evidence and turning it into new rock. In the early 20th century, scientists refined the process of radiometric dating. Earlier research had shown that isotopes of some radioactive elements decay into other elements at a predictable rate. By examining the existing elements, scientists can calculate the initial quantity of a radioactive element, and thus how long it took for the elements to decay, allowing them to determine the age of the rock.

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