OCT 30, 2016 07:20 AM PDT

One Major Impact Could Be Responsible for All of Earth's Precious Metals

Earth seems to have an unusually high abundance of precious metal elements, such as gold and platinum, when compared to other planets and spatial bodies. There are very dense elements that are formed in stars explode into supernovae, which are some of the most powerful forces in our universe.
 

Platinum is one of the Earth's rare precious metals that may have been formed from a single major collision billions of years ago.

 
Once they’re formed, they’re ejected into interstellar space at high rates of speed in virtually all directions. Then, over billions of years, they eventually collide with other spatial bodies, including our planet.
 
The theory that has been long-standing is that Earth has been bombarded by space rocks over the course of millions (even billions) of years and that all of these collisions have slowly delivered these precious metals to our once-boring planet.
 
Of course, the scientific community is now challenging this theory, suggesting that perhaps it was just one collision, not many, that brought all of the precious metals we know and love to our planet in one fell swoop.
 
Said collision is believed to be the very same one that created our Moon. The hypothesis appears in the Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
 
Researchers from Japan’s Tokyo Institute of Technology, led by Dr Ramon Brasser, have used computer programs to simulate the generation of Earth’s terrain over time, and there’s very little evidence to suggest Earth has been struck by space rocks as often as some other planetary bodies in our Solar System.
 
Probably helping to make this the case is Jupiter, our Solar System’s largest confirmed planet, whose gravitational forces probably vacuumed up most of the debris in our early Solar System. One might say Earth got pretty lucky. Thanks to Jupiter, there were probably far fewer space rocks in our Solar System at the time than once thought.
 
The researchers go on to explain that in order for all these rare precious metals to have been drilled so deep into Earth’s layers in just one impact, it would have needed to happen before Earth’s crust formed, which means it would have happened more than 4.45 billion years ago.
 
While most of the research remains hypothetical at this point in time, it does seem to match up nicely with what we understand about the Moon. Much research still remains to figure out if this is actually what happened, but all it takes is a single discovery to overturn this hypothesis, so only time will tell what actually took place.
 
Source: Science Alert

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 06, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 06, 2018
New Horizons Wakes Up From Low-Power State to Prep for Upcoming KBO Encounter
NASA’s Pluto-visiting New Horizons spacecraft has finally woken up after being in a low power mode-like state since December 21st of last year. Citin...
JUL 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 17, 2018
Astronomers Find 12 More Moons Orbiting Jupiter
Jupiter, with its immense gravitational influence over the solar system, has always possessed a rather excessive number of moons. But scientists now say th...
JUL 23, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 23, 2018
SpaceX Sees Another Successful 'Block 5' Falcon 9 Rocket Launch
Over the weekend, SpaceX launched yet another of its iconic Falcon 9 rockets from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Image C...
AUG 14, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 14, 2018
Astronomers Spy Supermassive Black Hole At the Center of An Ultracompact Dwarf Galaxy
It’s not uncommon for astronomers to find supermassive black holes at the center of massive galaxies, but it is somewhat unusual for astronomers to s...
AUG 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 27, 2018
These Are Some of the Oldest Galaxies in the Universe, Astronomers Say
While exploring the depths of the universe, astronomers from Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology and the Harvard-Smithsonian Ce...
SEP 04, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 04, 2018
Why It's So Hard to Predict the Shape of the Universe
Astronomers still have many questions about the universe. One of those being: what is the universe’s shape? It may seem like a simple question at fir...
Loading Comments...