AS101hw12 - same time as the heavy bombardment, then...

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J.I. AS101 Reading Question Chapter 9 #8 8. How do crater counts tell us the age of a planetary surface? Briefly explain why the Moon is so much more heavily cratered than Earth. During the formation of the solar system, there was the time of heavy bombardment. This was when our major planetesimals were growing to be quite massive and were attracting other planetesimals to collide into them. These collisions produce craters. But during the time of the planets’ formation there was much volcanic and tectonic action as the planets solidified and formed into the planets and created each planet’s surface. During this period craters would have been washed away more or less by the volcanic and tectonic action and so evidence of these collisions would not be readily apparent to us now. This is how we can tell the age of a planetary surface. If all the planets formed around the
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Unformatted text preview: same time as the heavy bombardment, then statistically they all should have been hit with a similar amount of planetsimals and should have received a similar amount of craters. But because of the volcanic and tectonic formation of the planets surface only after the surface was finished forming do we have evidence of craters. So therefore a planet with more crates evident finished forming its surface before a planet with less craters. This can help to explain why the Moon is much more heavily cratered than the Earth. That because the Moon was out there and separate from the Earth while the Earths surface was still forming. So while both objects were both getting hit, the Moon didnt have volcanic activity to cover up the craters and the Earth did....
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This document was uploaded on 04/06/2008.

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