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Giant Impact Hypothesis

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Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

Part of the book series: Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series ((EESS))

Definition

The giant impact hypothesis is one of the theories for the origin of the Moon. In this theory, a Mars-sized object hit Earth obliquely about 4.5 billion years ago, which ejected a lot of materials to form a disk around Earth. From this disk, a single huge moon was formed. Unlike the other hypotheses (the fission, capture, and binary accretion hypotheses), the giant impact hypothesis satisfies almost all physical and chemical constraints of the Moon (Stevenson 1987). Thus, the giant impact hypothesis is regarded as the leading theory for the origin of the Moon (e.g., Canup 2004).

Rise of Giant Impact Hypothesis

Before the 1970s, the fission, capture, and binary accretion hypotheses had been considered for the origin of the Moon. It is now known that these hypotheses have one or more crucial difficulties in physically making the Moon and explaining the lunar chemical compositions (see review articles Boss 1986; Wood 1986). However, before the 1970s, the constraints on the...

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Correspondence to Hidenori Genda .

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Genda, H. (2018). Giant Impact Hypothesis. In: White, W.M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Geochemistry. Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-39312-4_338

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