Skip Navigation

10.13: Formation of Earth

Difficulty Level: Basic Created by: CK-12
Atoms Practice
Estimated4 minsto complete
Practice Formation of Earth
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Estimated4 minsto complete
Estimated4 minsto complete
Practice Now
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Turn In

What was early Earth like?

Earth was not always the planet it is today. In its earliest days, Earth was scorching hot. It did not have an atmosphere or water. If life originated early on, it was wiped out by the terrible conditions.

Formation of Earth and Moon

Material at a similar distances from the Sun collided together to form each of the planets. Earth grew from material in its part of space. Moon's origin was completely different from Earth's.

Earth Forms

Earth formed like the other planets. Different materials in its region of space collided. Eventually the material made a planet. All of the collisions caused Earth to heat up. Rock and metal melted. The molten material separated into layers. Gravity pulled the denser material into the center. The lighter elements rose to the surface (Figure below). Because the material separated, Earth’s core is made mostly of iron. Earth’s crust is made mostly of lighter materials. In between the crust and the core is Earth’s mantle, made of solid rock.

Earth's layers.

Moon Forms

This model for how the moon formed is the best fit of all of the data scientists have about the moon.

In the early solar system there was a lot of space debris. Asteroids flew around, sometimes striking the planets. An asteroid the size of Mars smashed into Earth. The huge amount of energy from the impact melted most of Earth. The asteroid melted too. Material from both Earth and the asteroid was thrown out into orbit. Over time, this material smashed together to form our Moon. The lunar surface of the Moon is about 4.5 billion years old. This means that the collision happened about 70 million years after Earth formed.


  • Earth grew from material that collided in its part of space.
  • The material melted and gravity separated it into layers.
  • An enormous asteroid struck Earth. The material flew into orbit and came together to form the Moon.


Use this resource to answer the questions that follow.

  1. What did the impacts to form the early Earth create?
  2. Why were these impacts important?
  3. What is caused by the heat?
  4. How old is Earth?
  5. What does the heat in the core mean for Earth?


  1. How did Earth form?
  2. How did Earth material separate into layers?
  3. How did the Moon form?

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Show More

Image Attributions

Show Hide Details
Difficulty Level:
6 , 7
Date Created:
Jan 04, 2013
Last Modified:
Aug 29, 2016
Files can only be attached to the latest version of Modality
Please wait...
Please wait...
Image Detail
Sizes: Medium | Original