Sunday December 17th 2017

Scientists Explain Lack of Volcanic Activity on Moon

Free News Press – Scientists say there has not been a volcanic eruption on the moon for billions of years, however, they believe there is plenty of liquid magma deep under the surface.

The lack of volcanic activity has puzzled scientists, but research published in the February 19th issue of the Journal Nature Geosciences could shed some light on the reasons.

A team led by Mirjam van Kan Parker and Wim van Westrenen from VU University Amsterdam, along with scientists from the University of Paris, have been examining moon rocks and even made their own moon rocks to experiment with.

Magma, which is typically less dense than the surrounding rocks, eventually pushes its way to the surface. “The lighter the liquid magma is, the more violent the upward movement will be,” the researchers said in their statement.

To create their own moon magma, Parker and his team created their own moon rocks and heated them up using strong electrical currents. Sometimes they compressed the rocks to create magma. Density measurements were taken of their magma leading to a conclusion.

Most of the magma they created was less dense than the surrounding rocks, so there should be some volcanic activity. But on the moon, Apollo astronauts found titanium-rich rocks near the surface.

The scientists concluded that large vertical movements must have occurred early in the Moon’s history, when titanium-rich rocks descended from near the surface all the way to the core-mantle boundary. “After descending, magma formed from these near-surface rocks, very rich in titanium, and accumulated at the bottom of the mantle – a bit like an upside-down volcano,” Parker said.

“Today, the Moon is still cooling down, as are the melts in its interior. In the distant future, the cooler and therefore solidifying melt will change in composition, likely making it less dense than its surroundings. This lighter magma could make its way again up to the surface forming an active volcano on the Moon – what a sight that would be! – but for the time being, this is just a hypothesis to stimulate more experiments.”

More from category

Deep Space Telescope to observe Comet ISON
Deep Space Telescope to observe Comet ISON

Free News Press – NASA will be using one of their telescopes designed for the study of distant galaxies to examine [Read More]

Astronomers Identify Early Galaxies
Astronomers Identify Early Galaxies

FREE NEWS PRESS – Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Cal-tech) say they have identified some of [Read More]

Superbubble Discoveries
Superbubble Discoveries

Free News Press – NASA scientists say they are getting a better picture of a superbubble in the Large Magellanic [Read More]

NASA Mars Landing Set for Sunday Night
NASA Mars Landing Set for Sunday Night

Free News Press – If all goes well, the NASA Mars Rover, Curiosity, will land on the surface of the Red Planet at [Read More]

Fifth Moon Discovered Orbiting Pluto
Fifth Moon Discovered Orbiting Pluto

Free News Press – Scientists have discovered a fifth moon orbiting the icy dwarf planet Pluto. The moon is small, [Read More]

Advertisement