Scientists have discovered what they believe is the strongest evidence to date that the continents were formed by giant meteor impacts during the Earth’s early history.
Meteorite impacts were “particularly prevalent during the first billion years or so of our planet’s four-and-a-half billion year history”, according to researchers from Curtin University.
The theory that the continents were originally formed at the sites of these impacts has been around for decades, but there has been little solid evidence to support it – until now, says Dr Tim Johnson.
“By examining tiny crystals of the mineral zircon in rocks from the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia, which represents Earth’s best-preserved remnant of ancient crust, we found evidence of these giant meteorite impacts,” Dr Johnson said.
The mineral deposits around Pilbara, which is rich in iron, are some of the oldest on Earth, and have previously been the site of discovery for evidence of the earliest known life on…