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Latest Lunar Sample Could Alter What Scientists Know About The Moon’s Volcanoes
By Alexa Heah, 08 Oct 2021
Image via Shutterstock
Last year, new moon samples were brought back to Earth for the first time in nearly 40 years, and scientists have gleaned new information from these rocks. It appears that the moon’s volcanoes were alive and active for far longer than once thought.
“All our experience tells us that the moon should be cold and dead 2 billion years ago. But it is not, and the question is, ‘Why?’” quipped Alexander Nemchin, Professor of Geology at Curtin University in Australia.
According to CNET, when scientists took a closer at the lunar samples, the pieces contained fragments from about two eons ago, which speaking in space terms, is pretty young.
These bits were discovered to be from a volcanic eruption, which surprised researchers, as the common consensus was that volcanic activity had stopped a long time before.
“We need to dig deeper with this. We are highlighting that our current views need readjustment — further research will tell how dramatic this readjustment should be,” Nemchin explained.
Now that scientists have confirmed the lunar fragments collected are young, they can then work on proving their hypothesis that volcanoes were active on the moon more recently than estimated. Their research was documented in a recently published study on the matter.
“All basalts we had before are older than three billion years. We also had very few young points determined from material ejected by very young impacts—impact melts—but nothing in between. Now we have a point right in the middle of the gap,” Nemchin said.
Going forward, the team will conduct more extensive chemical research on the samples, which will hopefully lead them to their next discovery: the source of heat that caused volcanic activity on the moon at that time.
[via CNET, cover image via Shutterstock]
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