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Giant meteorite created Earth’s continents, scientists say

New research proves that the creation of the continents was formed by a giant meteorite, but which one?

This was a theory already strongly accepted by the scientific community: Earth’s continents were formed by massive meteor impacts, as can be read in The Conversation article. This kind of event was very frequent during the first billion years of our planet and, certain meteorites much larger than the others had particular effects on the Earth.

Today, Dr Tim Johnson of Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences and his team published a paper in ScienceDaily providing evidence that a giant meteorite was the origin of Earth’s continents. Massive meteor impacts were the starting point for the processes that eventually formed the continents.

“The theory that the continents originally formed at the sites of these impacts has been around for decades, but there has been little solid evidence to support it,” he explains according to sciencealert.

It was through the analysis of the oxygen isotopic composition of zircon crystals found in Australia that scientists were able to reveal “a ‘top-down’ process beginning with the melting of rocks near the surface and progressing deeper, consistent with the geological effect of giant meteorite impacts“, says Dr. Johnson.

Additionally, information from ancient continental crust from other regions appears to reveal patterns resembling those found in Australia. “Our research provides the first strong evidence that the processes that eventually formed the continents began with giant meteorite impacts, similar to those responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, but which occurred billions of years earlier.“, he concludes.