Earth’s continents formed by meteorite impact

According to a study published in the journal Nature, Australian scientists have shown that Earth’s continents were formed by giant meteorite impacts, which were especially common in the first billion years or so of Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history. The researchers’ study of the oxygen isotopic composition of zircon crystals revealed a “top-down” process that begins with the melting of rocks near the surface and progresses deeper, consistent with the geological effects of giant meteorite impacts. New research provides the first solid evidence that the process that eventually formed the continents began with a giant meteorite impact, similar to the process that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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