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Origins of the Moon

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There are a few hypotheses out there in regards to the origin of how the earth’s moon was formed of where it came from. One of these hypotheses states that 5.55 billion years ago the newly formed earth had started to attain its size and had formed its layers. During that period there were still many planets the size of mars and mercury moving around the solar system closet to earth. The theory was that since the earth had formed most its layers that many of the iron minerals had made its way to the core of the earth and the outer layers were made of other types of less dense materials. In theory a planet the size of mars collided with earth in which it vaporized the earth’s atmosphere and outside crust, also vaporizing the crust of the other planet. This in return heated up the planets and caused large chunks of molten masses to shoot out into space. However due to the earths strong gravity pull not all of the molten chunks escaped out into space but however was trapped by earth’s gravity and stayed in place. Over thousands of years this molten mass would eventually turn into what we know today as the moon and to explain the low iron count of the moon. Another hypothesis is that of the Nebular hypothesis. It states that the solar system as a whole started off as nebula cloud of gasses and dust. Which in time a gravitational collapse happened and the cloud started to rotate? This rotation in returned caused the mass to start to heat up due the fact the gravitational energy transitioned into thermal energy. After time the mass starts to cool off leaving rocky material to condense into partials. Eventually these particles begin to slam into one another forming asteroid size bodies in return these bodies forming into the size of planets rotating around the sun. In theory this is how the planets and the asteroid belt were formed in our solar system. When comparing both hypotheses they can relate to each other well and either one could be theories to how the moon was made. Perhaps during the process of the Nebular hypothesis when the asteroid size bodies or even when the planet size bodies where slamming into each other is when the first hypotheses I mentioned happened in return creating the moon for earth and the same way for the moons of other planets in our solar systems. It also leaves the idea that the moon was just formed like the other planets but perhaps it wasn’t hit enough times to with other particles to gain any size this leaving it in orbit of a much larger and more dense planet such as earth. Assignment 1) If the earth’s moon was formed by using the Nebula Hypothesis it would like other planets started off as a mass of particles slamming into one another and forming into asteroid size massed that would eventually turn into planet size masses. This rotating around larger planets and the sun. 2) In detail if the earth’s moon was formed by catastrophic impact hypothesis then roughly 4.55 billion years ago when the earth was just getting its size and formed its layers in which most of the earth’s iron had retained to its core. A mars sized planet slammed into the earth in return vaporizing the atmosphere and melting the crust on the earth and the other planet. The impact shot large chunks of molten mass into space. However some of the molten mass was trapped by earths powerful gravity pull and in time this molten mass would cool and continue to rotate around the earth and create earth’s moon. 3) 2 reasons that the nebula hypothesis scientifically would be able to create the process of the moon would be that during the time when planets were forming by particles and asteroid size masses slamming into each other the moon could have been one of these masses. Perhaps it didn’t collect enough particles to size up therefore getting stuck in the gravitational pull of a much larger and denser planet such as earth. 4) One reason to why the nebula hypothesis would scientifically not work is that there is very little iron deposits on the moon, if it formed the same way as other planets or the earth it would have the same amount of deposits of iron. 5) Two reasons to why scientifically the catastrophic impact hypothesis works for the origin of the moon as many of the mineral deposits found on the moon match that of the minerals found on the earth’s crust. Also being that the moon is less dense then the earth due to the lack of iron deposits found on it can relate to this theory. 6) One reason the why scientifically the catastrophic impact hypothesis does not work is that if such a collision took place how did it not destroy the earth, there is also no evidence on the earth that such a collision took place and had there been all traces of it would have been wiped away by the earths ever changing environment.

References Chernicoff and Whitney(2007) Geology: An introduction to Physical Geology. 4th ed Pearson

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