When and how the Earth evolved from a molten mass into a rocky planetary body continually resurfaced by plate tectonics remain some of the biggest questions in earth sciences. According to new research by scientists from Macquarie University, Southwest Research Institute and Harvard University, this transition may have been triggered by intense extraterrestrial bombardment.

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An artist’s concept of meteors impacting the ancient Earth. Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab.