Four seismometers, left in 1969 by American astronauts on the moon, recorded 28 small moonquakes from 1969 to 1977. Scientists, using data from the time, came to an amazing discovery: the moon is still tectonically active. The results of the observations published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
The lunar probe Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) of the space agency NASA (USA) 10 years ago discovered relatively young cracks, small narrow depressions on the surface of the Earth satellite. However, it was unclear exactly when and how they were formed. Some experts attributed their occurrence to asteroids, others did not.
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And now, researchers, re-evaluating seismometer data, came to the conclusion: the tectonic activity of the Moon is valid from 2 to 5 points.
Eight of the 28 recorded moonquakes occurred near the zone of young cracks: this is due to the movement of tectonic plates, scientists believe. “Probably, when the Moon undergoes a long process of compression, tension grows in the cortex,” suggested Thomas Watters, a scientist from the Smithsonian Institution (USA). “Peak compressive stresses are discharged and cause a moonquake.”
Despite the fact that the Apollo seismometers have been disconnected since 1977, there is a possibility that fault zones are still active today, Nicholas Schmerr, Watters’ colleague, is sure. “You don’t often see active tectonics anywhere outside the Earth, so it’s exciting that these cracks can still cause moonquakes,” he told Spiegel .