JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Asteroids bombarding the early Earth. The Earth is thought to have formed from the accretion of smaller particles of rock around the Sun some 4.5 billion years ago. Around four billion years ago, long after the main phase of accretion, there was a second period of frequent impact events, known as the Late Heavy Bombardment. During this period there were repeated impacts that melted much of the crust. It is this period that formed most of the craters and basins visible on the surface of the Moon and Mercury. The surface of Earth is highly geologically active, however, and visible signs of the bombardment have all been eroded, covered or otherwise destroyed.
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