The Story of the Solar System: The Primordial Earth

The young Earth was a fearsome place of asteroid impacts and volcanic eruptions, looked over by a Moon much closer than it is now and also riven with strikes.

An artistic conception of the early Earth, showing a surface pummeled by large impacts, resulting in extrusion of deep seated magma onto the surface. At the same time, distal portions of the surface could have retained liquid water. Credit: Simone Marchi/SwRI.

An artistic conception of the early Earth, showing a surface pummeled by large impacts, resulting in extrusion of deep seated magma onto the surface. At the same time, distal portions of the surface could have retained liquid water. Credit: Simone Marchi/SwRI.

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Animation by Mark Garlick.