Hf-W chronometry of lunar metals and the age and early differentiation of the Moon

Science. 2005 Dec 9;310(5754):1671-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1118842. Epub 2005 Nov 24.


The use of hafnium-tungsten chronometry to date the Moon is hampered by cosmogenic tungsten-182 production mainly by neutron capture of tantalum-181 at the lunar surface. We report tungsten isotope data for lunar metals, which contain no 181Ta-derived cosmogenic 182W. The data reveal differences in indigenous 182W/184W of lunar mantle reservoirs, indicating crystallization of the lunar magma ocean 4.527 +/- 0.010 billion years ago. This age is consistent with the giant impact hypothesis and defines the completion of the major stage of Earth's accretion.