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.

Related Articles


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 January 29, 2015 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 January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

NASA's On Course To Take Pluto's Best Photo Ever

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) NASA&apos;s New Horizons probe is en route to snap a picture of Pluto this summer, but making sure it doesn&apos;t miss its one chance to do so starts now. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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