Scientists reveal new vision of Earth 4 billion years ago

The Hadean and Eoarchean epochs were the real hell on Earth. For millions of years, our planet was heavily bombarded by millions of asteroids with "existing oceans repeatedly boiled away into steam atmospheres"until its crust finally solidified. These two new visualizations will help you comprehend this violence.

The following is a reconstruction "that illustrates land masses, mountain ranges, and seas shaped by impact cratering events, some of which significantly heated portions of the surface" created by Simone Marchi for a new research paper just published in Nature:

Below you can see an animated GIF that shows all the impacts, "a new bombardment model of the Hadean Earth that has been calibrated using existing lunar and terrestrial data."

Scientists reveal new vision of Earth 4 billion years ago

Marchi et al describe their findings in the abstract:

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.

Now imagine those impacts like this:

Scientists reveal new vision of Earth 4 billion years ago

And this:

Scientists reveal new vision of Earth 4 billion years ago

Or this (hello Moon!):

Scientists reveal new vision of Earth 4 billion years ago

Oh, to have a time machine and watch this all from orbit on fast forward.


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