The Late Heavy Bombardment ends

Artwork showing the Late Heavy Bombardment

About 4 to 3.8 billion years ago a period of intense comet and asteroid bombardment is thought to have peppered all the planets including the Earth. Many of the numerous craters found on the Moon and other bodies in the Solar System record this event.

One theory holds that a gravitational surge caused by the orbital interaction of Jupiter and Saturn sent Neptune careening into the ring of comets in the outer Solar System. The disrupted comets were sent in all directions and collided with the planets. These water-rich objects may have provided much of the water in the Earth's oceans.

The record of this event is all but lost on the Earth because our planet's tectonic plate system and active erosion ensure that the surface is constantly renewed.

Image: Artwork depicting the Late Heavy Bombardment (credit: Chris Butler/SPL)

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The Late Heavy Bombardment ends

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