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      Hot rocks: Constraining the thermal conditions of the Mistastin Lake impact melt deposits using zircon grain microstructures

      , , , ,
      Earth and Planetary Science Letters
      Elsevier BV

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          Origin of the cataclysmic Late Heavy Bombardment period of the terrestrial planets.

          The petrology record on the Moon suggests that a cataclysmic spike in the cratering rate occurred approximately 700 million years after the planets formed; this event is known as the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB). Planetary formation theories cannot naturally account for an intense period of planetesimal bombardment so late in Solar System history. Several models have been proposed to explain a late impact spike, but none of them has been set within a self-consistent framework of Solar System evolution. Here we propose that the LHB was triggered by the rapid migration of the giant planets, which occurred after a long quiescent period. During this burst of migration, the planetesimal disk outside the orbits of the planets was destabilized, causing a sudden massive delivery of planetesimals to the inner Solar System. The asteroid belt was also strongly perturbed, with these objects supplying a significant fraction of the LHB impactors in accordance with recent geochemical evidence. Our model not only naturally explains the LHB, but also reproduces the observational constraints of the outer Solar System.
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            Nickel partitioning between olivine and silicate melt

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              Widespread mixing and burial of Earth's Hadean crust by asteroid impacts.

              The history of the Hadean Earth (∼4.0-4.5 billion years ago) is poorly understood because few known rocks are older than ∼3.8 billion years old. The main constraints from this era come from ancient submillimetre zircon grains. Some of these zircons date back to ∼4.4 billion years ago when the Moon, and presumably the Earth, was being pummelled by an enormous flux of extraterrestrial bodies. The magnitude and exact timing of these early terrestrial impacts, and their effects on crustal growth and evolution, are unknown. Here we provide a new bombardment model of the Hadean Earth that has been calibrated using existing lunar and terrestrial data. We find that the surface of the Hadean Earth was widely reprocessed by impacts through mixing and burial by impact-generated melt. This model may explain the age distribution of Hadean zircons and the absence of early terrestrial rocks. Existing oceans would have repeatedly boiled away into steam atmospheres as a result of large collisions as late as about 4 billion years ago.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Earth and Planetary Science Letters
                Earth and Planetary Science Letters
                Elsevier BV
                0012821X
                April 2022
                April 2022
                : 584
                : 117523
                Article
                10.1016/j.epsl.2022.117523
                ebb06180-df61-490d-9512-12b733682652
                © 2022

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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