a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks

The moon is younger than originally thought

Dad sent me an interesting article out of the February 08 edition of Physics Today. (abstract) In it, Mark Wilson summarizes the work that Thorsten Kleine and Mathieu Touboul have done to date the lunar mantle via the hafnium-tungsten system. By manually separating out all of the decayed tantalum from the naturally-occurring tungsten, these geochemists managed to prove that there was no actual contradiction with the previous samarium-neodymium calculations (of +/- 60 million years after the formation of the solar system), and that the moon had formed after all of the hafnium had vanished from the earth's mantle. Basically, these scientists claim that the two bodies (earth and moon) are "isotopically indistinguishable" from the small lunar samples they had for measurement. This does not mean that there aren't chemical differences, just that the decay rate of those isotopes and the distribution of them in the earth's mantle and the moon's mantle are statistically related.

/end geek
Tags: learning

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