Planet Earth

Understanding the other planets in the Solar System gives us clues about the origins of the Earth. For example, samples of rock from the Moon tell a story about how the Earth formed more than 4.5 billion years ago. Find out how in this part of the gallery. On display are a selection of the Museum’s meteorites and a piece of the Apollo 15 rocket’s heat shield, presented to the University by the astronauts. Also find out how the inside of the Earth works and how we know what the Earth is made of.

Stony iron meteorite
Meteorites vary considerably in composition depending upon their origin and history of formation. Stony iron meteorites, as shown here, are rare, forming about 1% of all meteorites and are composed of both iron/nickel metal and silicate minerals and probably originated from asteroids, although a few originate from the Moon and Mars.
  Metamorphic rocks
Deep burial within the Earth's crust subjects rocks to intense heat and pressure, which deforms and reconstitutes them. They are known as metamorphic rocks. With varying degrees of intensity, metamorphism produces rocks such as slate, marble, schist and gneiss - as illustrated here.

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