# Tag Info

38

Some background: We are able to determine the age of certain rocks and minerals using measurements of radioactive and radiogenic isotopes of certain elements. The most common are U-Th-Pb, Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd. Simply put, the resulting date is the time that has passed from the crystallisation of that mineral. Obviously there are complexities, but there are not ...

22

Could an icy/extremely-cold asteroid/comet ever strike and cool the Earth? No. The smallest possible velocity is about 11 km/s velocity, and that would require a near miracle. For that to happen, the object would have to enter the vicinity of the Earth through a very small keyhole near the Sun-Earth L1 or L2 point with a very small velocity (a comet will ...

21

I'm gonna sail against the wind and say "yes", indirectly. Although you don't need a cold asteroid, a "normal" one would suffice. When striking the Earth, asteroids eject a large amount of dust into the atmosphere, blocking the Sun radiations, thus cooling the planet. The phenomenon is known as impact winter and is similar to volcanic and ...

19

The answers that have been provided are correct but they're omitting the fundamental issue that explains why they are correct: When you date a rock you get the point that it solidified, not the point the material came into being. Most rocks on Earth have melted time and again and thus are useless for figuring out how old the Earth is.

18

The only elements that were formed on Earth are those produced by radioactive decay. There are four natural decay chains that start with transuranic elements and none terminate in iron; neither do the decay chains that are artificial or those that result from cosmic radiation. So all of our iron is from the Earth's formation or meteor impacts since then.

14

Let me first correct a small misconception. Where you are talking about 'the magma ocean', you are implying that one exists. This is in fact false. There is no 'magma ocean' in the Earth at the moment (and it has been like that for several billions years). The lavas you see erupting in volcanoes are not coming from a magma ocean. They are coming from either ...

13

Love & Brownlee (1991) put together numerical models for the experiences of micrometeorites entering the atmosphere. They say: The peak temperatures experienced by submillimeter micrometeoroids rarely exceed 1700°C. Maximum temperature and mass loss rate generally occur at altitudes between 85 and 90 km during ∼1 sec of peak heating. A typical melted ...

13

No, it's not possible to cool the Earth with an asteroid impact. The mass of any asteroid that could hit the Earth is far too small to be a heat sink. The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs had a mass of around $10^{16}$ kg. The Earth has a mass of $10^{24}$ kg, or a 100 million times more. And no matter how cold an asteroid is, the kinetic energy ...

12

If water on Earth came from meteorites, why doesn't Mars have substantial water? First off, that's a conjecture regarding the origin of the Earth's water rather than a known fact. A few times a year or so, a new journal article will appear that argues that the Earth's water is primordial, then another arguing that it came from comets, then yet another ...

12

tl;dr: Compared to Earth, the atmosphere on Mars is very thin; in addition, it contains much less of oxygen and water (i.e., is very dry). It is much colder there. These conditions may slow down oxidation to an irrelevant rate. For an object of pure iron, note that according to the English Wikipedia about Mars: "The atmosphere of Mars consists of about ...

12

For your purpose (energy in the entire system) it doesn't matter if the asteroid lands gently or not because energy is conserved: If the asteroid slows through some kind of atmospheric braking, then the energy goes into the atmosphere as heat. If it slows through running into the ocean at full tilt then the energy goes into the ocean as heat. If the energy ...

11

All the material that eventually formed our solar system is essentially recycled star dust. All iron on Earth was produced by large stars that existed before our Sun formed: the iron was created during nuclear fusion and later released when the parent star(s) exploded, presumably supernova. After our solar nebula had formed and material had been ...

10

why wouldn't that water evaporate on impact, and wouldn't the atmosphere at that time allow the vapours to escape Earth? The water would very likely evaporate on impact. However, gravity would prevent the gas phase water molecules from leaving Earth. The speed of a water molecule must be compared to the escape velocity of Earth (11 km/s) to determine ...

8

Craters actually can be identified by formation of high-pressure materials such as diamonds or stishovites and coesites (varieties of shocked quartz). A good example of this is the Popigai crater in Russia. Pressures and temperatures at subduction zones are usually too low to form big diamonds but microdiamonds (10-80 microns) were discovered within ...

6

Simple enough, see the meteorites formed alongside the planet, however, since the planet was pretty much a molten soup you can't date it properly, because we can only date it after it cooled down. Meaning that the meteorites hold a much more accurate time-frame since they were not melted down to form our crust! which means their dates (I am using the term ...

6

Therriault et al. (1993) suggest an initial diameter of 192-300km. Turtle & Piarazzo (1998) suggest a smaller initial diameter but make no estimates of the depth; they do, however, suggest an impactor of 10-14km diameter. Dietz (1961) describes the impact crater as "40km across and 16km deep" - i.e. does not take into account the extensive erosion that ...

6

I believe the element iron (Fe) is formed by stellar nucleosynthesis. stellar nucleosynthesis: it's a process of continuous fusion of the star element to reach heavier and heavier elements. starting from hydrogen (H) till iron (Fe) (the heaviest element the process could reach). Each 2 atoms of light elements fuse together to form heavier element atom. ...

6

No, there are nowhere near this many craters on earth. I think you're asking if there are lots of craters on earth too, but they're hard to see because of vegetation and the oceans. The answer is 'no'. The main reason is that — thanks to plate tectonics — most of the crust is substantially younger (hundreds of millions of years) than the surface of, say, ...

6

Without water there would be no multi-billion year history of plate tectonics, no glacial action, and no fluvial erosion, so the Earth would look unrecognizably primitive. But we have an atmosphere, so all the impact crater rims would be subject to aeolian erosion whilst low points, including crater bowls, would have aeolian sedimentary infill. Volcanic ...

6

The story told in the movie about the meteorite is fictional. Here is a quote: The Kartenhoff, the oldest in human possession. The very meteorite which made this crater. The Kartenhoff is a fictional meteorite (I found few sources about the movie saying so, this is the most comprehensive one). It is not the oldest known to humans, and it didn't make ...

5

Impact diamonds Yes, diamonds can form in meteorite impacts. For this several things need to happen: A meteorite of the correct size and velocity, The stuff it hits needs to contain carbon. If you have a meteorite hitting granite or ocean you're not going to get any diamonds. It usually has to hit something that has biogenic carbon (let's say peat, coal, ...

5

Erosion (especially), viscous relaxation, uplift, crust recycling (in the long term), volcanic activity, filling of the crater with deposits, and distortion by crust deformation (eg earthquakes) are all more important than vegetation, except for very small craters. Other planets and bodies have few or none of these processes.

5

Well the oceanic crust get recycled (through subduction), the oldest being only ~200 million year old, and the average, much younger. And on continents it is not just vegetation but dynamic processes such as collision, rifting, erosion etc. that quickly (in geologic time scales) modify the landscape. Even Chicxulub is not obvious if you just look at the ...

5

Somewhat more from volcanic activity than meteor impacts, but both are important. The Earth has an iron-nickel ($\ce{Fe}$-$\ce{Ni}$) core that originates from Earth's formation out of the collision of planetesimals which themselves contained iron, rock and ice. The Earth was very hot at that time, and the iron along with some siderophilic elements sunk to ...

5

So (naturally occurring) elements on earth can only come to be here in three ways. Either they are formed here via radioactive decay. They came via meteor. They were already here. As mistermarko stated above iron isn't normally formed via radioactive decay, so we're left with the last two choices. However if we go back far enough, earth itself was a bunch ...

5

Mars did have a significant amount of water (and atmosphere) early in its history. According to NASA, there was enough to form an ocean covering about half its surface: https://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/march/nasa-research-suggests-mars-once-had-more-water-than-earth-s-arctic-ocean/ The reason it doesn't have a lot of water or atmosphere today is that much ...

5

Being in a submarine in the ocean is not a good idea because if a large asteroid hits the ocean the shock wave created, and its energy, would be very large. If the submarine survives intact its occupants may not. The occupants could be thrown about so much they liquidize & turn into people puree. Similarly being airborne in a blimp or airplane would be ...

5

Meteors enter the atmosphere at speeds ranging from 11 km/sec, to 72 km/sec. Those speeds are so large that if a meteorite were to hit the surface at that speed, the energy released would be more then enough to to vaporize the meteorite on impact, therefore leaving nothing of the original impacting body. However, during their fall, meteorites slow down due ...

Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible