The Earth and Moon were created as the result of a giant collision between two planets the size of Mars and Venus, research says.
The research from the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, shows that the Earth and Moon must have formed much later - perhaps up to 150 million years after the formation of the solar system, 4,567 million years ago.
'We have determined the ages of the Earth and the Moon using tungsten isotopes, which can reveal whether the iron cores and their stone surfaces have been mixed together during the collision,' explains Tais W. Dahl, of the Niels Bohr Institute.
Dahl did the research as his thesis project in geophysics at the Niels Bohr Institute in collaboration with David J. Stevenson, professor, California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
The planets in the solar system were created by collisions between small dwarf planets orbiting the newborn Sun. In the collisions the small planets melted together and formed larger planets.
The Earth and Moon are the result of a gigantic collision between two planets the size of Mars and Venus. Their age can be dated by examining the presence of certain elements in the Earth's mantle.
The result of the research means that the Earth and the Moon must have been formed much later than previously thought - that is to say not 30 million years after the formation of the solar system 4,567 million years ago but perhaps up to 150 million years after the formation of the solar system, said a Niels Bohr release.
The findings have been published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.