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Earth has experienced an "ancient cataclysm" that has melted rocks on the planet's surface

Earth was once a barren hell, making even the most unpleasant place in modern Britain look like paradise (Image: Nasa)

Earth has been hit by several truly epic disasters that have threatened to derail the evolution of life.

Now scientists have revealed new details about how this planet survived the "cataclysmic past" that ended with an apocalyptic event that melted the entire surface of our world.

In the era shortly after the creation of Earth, the Solar System experienced a "giant planet migration" in which the largest planets, including Saturn and Jupiter, began to move away from the Sun.

We do not understand what caused this phenomenon, but we know that it sent huge waves of comets, asteroids and even small mini-worlds called proto-planets or planetozymals to the internal solar system.

A team from the University of Colorado has now sketched a new outline of the era's history and said it happened much earlier than expected about 4.48 billion years ago.

The disaster "began with comets that came to scream into the internal solar system," said geologist Stephen Mojzsis.

Our planet has survived countless asteroid strokes (photo: Nasa)

"The next wave was planetozymals remaining after the formation of inner planets," he continued.

"The last group that came were asteroids that are still leaking to us."

Scientists simulated planetary motions and analyzed meteors on Earth to uncover evidence of when this giant 'bombing' took place.

The results pointed to 4.48 billion years ago, while previous estimates suggested that the disaster happened about 3.9 billion years ago.

It is important to indicate this date, because life could evolve only after the bombing.

More: Tech

Mojzsis said the findings "open a new window to the evolution of life on Earth," and suggest that "our planet was calm enough to support living organisms as early as 4.4 billion years ago."

The oldest known fossil discovered here on Earth is only 3.5 billion years old.

"The only way to completely sterilize the Earth is to melt the crust at once," added Mojzsis.

"We have shown that this has not happened since the beginning of the migration of the giant planets."

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