Feeds

CRACK made by quakes FOUND ON MOON

Paparazzo probe's pic hints at smoking hot insides

Application security programs and practises

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has snapped shots showing that the Moon's crust has been stretched and pulled fairly recently to form tiny valleys on its surfaces.

Recent valleys on the Moon's surface

Recent valleys on the Moon's surface. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University/Smithsonian Institution

The moonquakes occurred some time in the last 50 million years, which in Moon time is pretty recent since the rock is over 4.5 billion years old.

The valleys, known as graben, are narrow cracks on the surface that show the lunar crust is being pulled apart along two bounding faults.

"We think the Moon is in a general state of global contraction because of cooling of a still hot interior," said Thomas Watters, lead author of a paper on this research appearing in the journal Nature Geoscience.

"The graben tell us forces acting to shrink the moon were overcome in places by forces acting to pull it apart. This means the contractional forces shrinking the moon cannot be large, or the small graben might never form."

Formation of Moon valleys

The findings raise questions about how the Moon evolved and whether or not it is still in the process of completely forming.

Scientists had assumed that the Moon was all done with tectonic activity, because the youngest geological markers on the surface were thought to be about a billion years old.

The graben show that the interior of the Moon could still be smoking hot and molten. If the core was cooling, the surface of the Moon would be wrinkling up, not cracking to form valleys.

"It was a big surprise when I spotted graben in the far side highlands," said co-author Mark Robinson, principal investigator of LROC.

"It's exciting when you discover something totally unexpected and only about half the lunar surface has been imaged in high resolution. There is much more of the Moon to be explored." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.