Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Shows Moon In New Light

Date:
February 7, 2007
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Light has been shed on the dark parts of the Moon with experiments by University of Edinburgh researchers simulating billions of years of lunar evolution.

The dark lunar rocks on the Moon are somewhat similar to dark volcanic rocks on the Earth. However, many dark lunar rocks are characterised by unusually high ratios of the rare elements hafnium to tungsten.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

Light has been shed on the dark parts of the Moon with experiments by University of Edinburgh researchers simulating billions of years of lunar evolution.

It is generally believed the Moon was created after an early, semi molten, Earth collided with a planet the size of Mars.

The collision was so great that the orbiting debris would have formed a so-called lunar magma ocean, or liquefied rock, up to several hundred kilometres deep that would have covered the Moon's surface.

Yet until now, it has remained a mystery as to how this magma ocean cooled and how the lunar landscape evolved into white highlands and dark valleys.

The dark lunar rocks are somewhat similar to dark volcanic rocks on the Earth, like those visited by tourists on the Canary Islands.

However, many dark lunar rocks are characterised by unusually high ratios of the rare elements hafnium to tungsten.

To better understand this, researchers created their own lunar rock based on analysis of samples bought back from Apollo missions, which they melted down in furnaces at temperatures of up to 1500 degrees Celsius.

They then examined it as it cooled and crystallised to understand how the Moon solidified into solid rock.

Dr Stephan Klemme, of the University's School of Geosciences, said:

“Looking at how minerals crystallised has enabled us to gain much greater insight into the moon's geological history.

“Our experiments have shown that the minerals creating the white rock - seen in the lunar highlands - would have crystallised first, whereas the dark and heavy iron-rich minerals would have sunk in the magma oceans creating darker rock that would have been buried deep inside the moon.

“The reason that the darker rocks are now visible on the surface of the Moon is proof of a later period of intensive meteorite showers. The iron-rich minerals, that were deep inside the Moon, proved to be especially high in Hafnium and low in Tungsten and would have erupted to the surface as molten rock filling the valleys on the Moon to leave the darker shade we observe today.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Study Shows Moon In New Light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070206131148.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2007, February 7). Study Shows Moon In New Light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070206131148.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Study Shows Moon In New Light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070206131148.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

NASA (July 18, 2014) Apollo 11 yesterday, Next Giant Leap tomorrow, Science instruments for Europa mission, and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins