Research Article

Age and Origin of the Moon

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Science  07 Nov 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5340, pp. 1098-1103
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5340.1098

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Abstract

The age and origin of the moon have been studied with the use of the recently developed short-lived hafnium-tungsten chronometer (182Hf-182W, half-life of nine million years). The tungsten isotopic compositions of 21 lunar samples range from chondritic to slightly radiogenic (ɛW = −0.50 ± 0.60 to +6.75 ± 0.42). This heterogeneity may have been inherited from material excavated from Earth and the putative impactor, but it is more likely the result of late radioactive decay within the moon itself; in this case, the moon formed 4.52 to 4.50 billion years ago, and its mantle has since remained poorly mixed.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dclee{at}umich.edu

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