NASA finds Geological Activity On the Moon


NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has sent back pictures showing evidence of stretching in the moon's crust in the form pf small valleys scattered in various areas of the lunar surface. Usually considerably longer than their with these valleys show that that portion of lunar crust is getting pulled apart at Called graben they result form breaks and drops along two bounding faults that occur as the crust stretches.


(Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University/Smithsonian Institution)

It is thought that the Moon’s interior is still hot and cooling causing the Moon to be in a general state of global contraction. This came as a big surprise to scientists who date the Moon’s age at 4,500,000,000 years but they date these features at less than 50,000,000 years. Such age estimates are based on crater density in the area and a particular model on the history of the solar system. Other models exists (Exploding planet and Creation Science models) that would produce much younger ages. However this does set a maximum age showing that the moon is not geologically dead.

In addition Moon quake data from seismometers left on the Moon by Apollo astronauts shows that some 30% of the Moons interior is molten magma. The reason why this magma does no erupt to the surface is that it is too dense to be pushed to the surface at this time. Interestingly this could change as the moon cools resulting in volcanic eruptions.


Buzz Aldrin next to a seismometer left on the Moon by Apollo 11.
(Credit: NASA:/Goddard)

The reason for this surprise is that the interior of the moon should have cooled bellow any level of geological activity long before this point. However the Moon seems to still be cooling down, suggesting that it is much younger than the estimated 4.5 billion years.

These discoveries are however predicted by a Young Moon Model where the Earth- Moon system is about six thousand years old with two heating events caused by accelerated nuclear decay. There is other evidence of these two accelerated nuclear decay events here on Earth by way of helium diffusion in zircon crystals.

References

NASA Spacecraft Reveals Recent Geological Activity On the Moon

Coming Soon to the Moon: Volcanoes?

 

 

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