Has the mystery of how the moon formed finally been solved? Scientists find new ... trends now
It is a mystery that has gripped humanity for hundreds of years — how exactly did our moon come to be?
Since the 1970s, astronomers have suspected that our natural satellite was created when a giant protoplanet called Theia struck early Earth (Gaia).
The nature of this collision and what happened immediately after has been subject to debate, however, with some scientists suggesting that it created a vast cloud of debris which coalesced into the moon over time.
Now, new evidence has been uncovered which supports the impact theory 4.5 billion years ago — as well as revealing a rather surprising fact about our own planet.
Not only did the collision create the moon, a new study says, but it also buried relics of Theia deep within Earth's mantle, which ultimately went on to help form Hawaii and Iceland.
Discovery: Scientists have found new evidence our that the moon was created during a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized protoplanet called Theia 4.5 billion years ago. This also buried relics of Theia deep within Earth's mantle (depicted following the collision)
Theory: Experts think the dense material sank to the lower region of the Earth's mantle, where it pooled together to form heavy blobs above our planet's core that still exist today (depicted in the centre of the image of Earth)
Astronomers have long suspected that the moon was created when a giant protoplanet called Theia struck the newly formed Earth - a theory first put forward in the 1970s.
It says the huge collision created a vast cloud of debris, which coalesced into the moon.
However, until now, astronomers have not been able to explain how this left the moon and Earth chemically identical.
Later, two hypotheses arose that could explain why the moon is Earth's chemical clone, but they predict radically different masses for Theia.
In one scenario, two half-Earths merged to form the Earth-moon system.
But the second hypothesis suggests Theia was a small, high-velocity projectile that smacked into a large and fast-spinning young Earth.
Researchers led by the California Institute of Technology said these relics from the Mars-sized protoplanet would have been thousands of miles across.
They think the dense material sank to the lower region of the Earth's mantle, where it pooled together to form heavy blobs above our planet's core that still exist today.
The scientists came to their conclusion with the help of computer simulations which aimed to explain why there is a massive anomaly deep within the Earth's interior.
There are two regions at the base of our planet's mantle which are unusual and different to the rest of the layer.
Known as Large Low Velocity Provinces (LLVPs), one is located beneath the African tectonic plate and the other under the Pacific tectonic plate.
Their existence was established when geologists found that seismic waves slowed dramatically at a depth of 1,800 miles (2,900 km) in the two regions, which differed to other parts of the Earth.
Scientists believe the material in these LLVPs is between 2 and 3.5 per cent denser than the surrounding mantle.
The regions are important because they would have played a key role in how the