Saturday, November 10, 2012

Another Lunar Formation Theory is in Trouble

For the past 200 years, scientists have been working hard to come up with an explanation for the Moon's formation that does not involve the direct work of a Creator. The fourth hypothesis in that the Moon was formed by the impact upon Earth of a body the size of Mars. Early this year it was proved to be wrong by new evidence. A fifth hypothesis has quickly taken its place! When will they realize that the God hypothesis is the only fully reasonable explanation?

(Based on Ron Samec, "Lunar Formation Theories" published in Creation Matters, a publication of Creation Research Society, Volume 17, Number 4, July/August 2012, to appear at

Theory One. Fission Hypothesis.

George Darwin was the fifth child of Charles Darwin, who wrote On the Origin of Species, the sacred book of evolution. George, who became a professor of astronomy, followed in his father's footsteps by calling into question the Biblical account of the formation of the Earth and the Moon. In 1898, he published The Tides and Kindred Phenomena in the Solar System, in which he discussed the effects of tidal friction on the Earth–Moon system.1

Fission Hypothesis
In this fission hypothesis, George Darwin claimed that the early Earth rotated faster and faster, as more dense elements sunk to its core. When the earth exceeded breakup velocity, the material that would become the Moon tore from the Pacific Ocean Basin, leaving a scar (Ridges). 

The problem with this is that the initial spin or angular momentum is not conserved in the present Earth-Moon system (50% loss).

Also, the orbit of the moon and the obliquity of the ecliptic (likewise the inclination of the earth) should coincide, and they do not. The Earth’s inclination is about 23.5o to the orbital plane (the ecliptic) and the Moon’s orbit is inclined by some 5o

The plane of the Moon's orbit does not match the plane of the Earth's rotation.

Theory Two. Condensation Hypothesis.

The Solar System supposedly
formed from a spinning ball
of gas. But then why is the
motion of the Moon and
Earth on different planes?
The fact that the plane of the Moon's orbit does not match the plane of the Earth's rotation also defeated the second Lunar formation theory that became very popular among scientists, namely the Condensation hypothesis. It is an extension of the Laplace nebular hypotheses: the Moon formed from the solar nebula.

As the sun’s nebula condensed, conservation of angular momentum caused a disk to form and within the disk, eddies or whirlpools developed. At the center of these, the planets formed.  Secondary eddies led to satellites or moons of the planets.  The Earth and the Moon supposedly formed in an eddy and a secondary eddy. Again, the current, strange Earth-Moon orbital-inclination would not result — the Moon’s orbital plane and the Earth’s equator should coincide.

Theory Three. Lunar-Capture Theory.

A ring of dust around earth slows
the passing  Moon, but it can't be enough
for it to be captured by Earth's gravity.
Another theory is that the Moon was captured by the Earth as it passed by in an Earth-crossing orbit. One major problem with this idea is that capture is an extremely rare event!  And even if this unlikely event took place, the Moon would likely have swung by in a parabolic or an elliptical trajectory, which is a higher velocity orbit than is that of the near circular orbits of either the Earth or the present Moon.

The big question is what caused the Moon to slow down? If captured by the Earth, we would expect the present Moon to have a larger eccentricity and inclination. The resulting, fantastic tidal dissipation would have resulted in major distortions and destruction of the Earth. Also, if a near-collision brought the object within the Roche limit of the Earth, the Moon could have been shredded into rings.

Theory Four. Collision Hypothesis.

In 1976 astronomers Alastair G. W. Cameron and William R. Ward suggested that the Moon was formed by the tangential impact upon Earth of a body the size of Mars. Most of the outer silicates of the colliding body would be vaporized, leaving the metallic core of the two bodies. Hence, most of the collisional material sent into orbit would consist of silicates, leaving the coalescing Moon deficient in iron.2

A body the size of Mars collided with Earth, resulting in the Moon with core properties different from Earth.
This premise seems to solve all of problems of the earlier theories. except for the vanishingly low probability of such an event! In fact, it is much more improbable than is a near collision of a lunar mass dwarf planet, as in the capture hypothesis. To this theory's credit, the odd orbit of the Moon is easily explained by the initial orbit of the planet since it does not have to follow a particular path (except that it should be near the ecliptic, which is the plane of the Earth's revolution around the Sun).

A recent study of Moon rocks now puts even this model in doubt3. The research team confined their study to a rare form of titanium (using the 50Ti/47Ti isotopic ratio) which is known to occur in widely varying amounts throughout the solar system. After correcting for the difference caused by the continued exposure of the lunar surface to the Sun’s radiation, the scientists found that the isotopic abundance in Moon rocks was identical to that of the Earth.

This implies that the Moon came only from Earth materials and not an alien planet that collided with the Earth. Thus, there is no evidence of the Mars-mass object in these data.

In other words, the collision theory has failed.

The Real Explanation: the God Hypothesis

The sun and moon exert
gravitational forces on Earth
that influence tides, needed to
sustain life.
The real explanation of the Moon’s existence and orbital configuration is that God designed and created the Moon and set it in place, with a number of important purposes. These include the gyrostabilization of the Earth, cleaning of Earth’s shorelines by tidal forces, giving light in the evening, and the revealing of the Sun’s corona and chromosphere to scientists during solar eclipses. Helium was discovered because of the last listed design feature.

As we read in Genesis 1:16-18,
…God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

Theory Five. Efficient Impact Ejection.

Of course, scientists who work for mainstream universities and government agencies no longer allow themselves to think that there is a Creator God who was directly involved in the formation of the Moon, or of anything else.

Complete mixing of
two colliding bodies?
Very quickly, at least one group has come to the rescue with yet another lunar formation theory, to make up for the defeat of the Collision hypothesis. Zhang et al.4 (2012) stated that the twin nature of lunar rocks and the Earth could be explained by an “efficient impact ejection” by “exchange of material between the Earth’s magma ocean and the protolunar disk.”

It is hard enough to imagine such an improbable event as a planet just the size of Mars ... impacting the Earth at just the right angle ... to result in a perfectly placed Moon ... that benefits life on Earth in such wonderful ways. It is even harder, though, to imagine that this involved ... such a thorough mixing of the alien planet and the Earth’s crust ... so that the two bodies have identical core materials.

The God hypothesis will ultimately be the only fully reasonable explanation!

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References (selected)

1. Sir George Darwin,, retrieved October 8, 2012.

2. Giant impact hypothesis,, retrieved October 8, 2012.

3. Meier, M.M.M. 2012. Moon formation: Earth's titanium twin. Nature Geoscience 5:240–241.

4. Zhang, J.,  N. Dauphas, A.M. Davis, I. Leya, and A. Fedkin. 2012.  The proto-Earth as a signifi- cant source of lunar material. Nature Geoscience 5:251–255