The moon has been orbiting the Earth for four billion years now and has seen a lot of the changes that it has undergone since its very beginning. The moon had already been around during the age of the dinosaurs, casting a hazy glow in the night to these gigantic reptiles. But did you know that the moon, too, during this time, held a few secrets?
Secrets in the form of lunar volcanoes.
Recently, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) of NASA was able to find evidence that the moon hosted its own volcanic activity billions of years ago, which only “slowed gradually instead of stopping abruptly a billion years ago.”
This phenomenon, as reported by Universe Today, a popular North American-based non-commercial space and astronomy news website, has evidence that strongly points to the Moon’s volcanic past as scattered deposits in the Moon’s lunar “seas” where the ground is a “mixture of smooth, rounded, shallow mounds next to patches of rough, blocky terrain.”
|Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons|
These unusual textures seem to indicate that there might have been volcanic activity and volcanic matter that broke through to the surface to form these irregular patches. Initially, scientists thought that Ina Caldera, a two-mile D-shaped patch on the moon, was a unique formation on the moon, but later studies and subsequent observations found that there have actually been 70 of these patches spotted on the moon over the years by researchers from Arizona State University in Tempe and Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in Germany.
The researchers also calculated the age of these volcanoes based on the number of craters on the surface as well as the height of the slopes, and found that the craters, and therefore the existence of volcanoes on the moon, were “thought to be less than 100 million years old, and perhaps less than 50 million years old in the case of Ina.”
|Photo Credits: NAOJ via Universe Today|
On moon standards, this amount of time is “practically yesterday,” which is probably why researchers also found that, despite the moon’s cool surface, the interior is still “piping hot far longer than anyone had supposed.”