The Moon Changes: It’s Getting Smaller, Cooler, And Has Moonquakes, NASA Says

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The Moon is not dead at all, and it seems to be changing. According to NASA’s latest reports, the Moon is getting colder and smaller. More than that, it also appears that it is prone to moonquakes.

Over the past several hundred million years, it was found by NASA scientists that the moon reduced its size by 50 meters due to a cooling interior and it’s still tectonically active.

Moonquakes, due to active faults 

As the moon is shrinking, it’s also getting wrinkled, and this leads to the formation of thrust faults and results in one section of the crust’s surface to push up over another crust.

“Our analysis gives the first evidence that these faults are still active and likely producing moonquakes today as the Moon continues to gradually cool and shrink,” Thomas Watters, a senior scientist from the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies said.

NASA/GSFC/ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

He also explained that the moonquakes recorded aren’t minor, they are “fairly strong, around five on the Richter scale”.

The fault scarps are tens of meters high and they extend for a few kilometers.

It’s also interesting to mention that a recent study, published in Nature Geoscience, analyzed data from various seismometers on the Moon, placed by Apollo astronauts between 1969 and 1977.

These measured the shaking that has been produced by the moonquakes and these have been ranging from two to five on the Richter scale. They also used an algorithm in order to detect the locations.

Eight moonquakes visible in lunar images 

From the data that has been analyzed and the algorithms that were used, experts were able to find eight of the 28 shallow quakes that were recorded within 30 kilometers of faults and were visible in lunar images.

NASA

Stuff.co.nz writes that six of the eight moonquakes recorded near the faults took place when the Moon was at its farthest point from Earth in its orbit.

According to expert opinions, there were caused by additional tidal stress heightened by the Earth’s gravity.

Scientists are looking forward to implementing a new network of seismometers in the future.


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