Brought to you by: www.avisolisto.com.co
The Moon is gradually shrinking, causing wrinkles on its surface and tremors, according to an analysis of images captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) published this week.
According to AFP, a study of more than 12,000 images revealed that the Mare Frigoris lunar basin, near the north pole of the Moon and one of the vast basins considered dead sites from the geological point of view, has been cracking and changing.
Unlike our planet, the Moon does not have tectonic plates. Instead, its seismic activity occurs as it slowly loses heat from the time it was formed, 4,500 million years ago.
This, in turn, causes its surface to wrinkle, like a grape that becomes a raisin.
Since the lunar crust is fragile, these forces cause its surface to break as the interior contracts, resulting in so-called thrust faults, where a section of the crust presses on an adjacent section.
As a result, the Moon has become around 50 meters more “thin” in the last hundred million years.
The Apollo astronauts began to measure seismic activity on the Moon in the 60s and 70s, discovering that the vast majority of movements occurred deep within the body, while a smaller number occurred on its surface.
The analysis was published in the journal Nature Geoscience and examined surface lunar earthquakes recorded by the Apollo missions, establishing links between them and very young surface features.
“It’s quite likely that the faults are still active today,” said Nicholas Schmerr, an assistant professor of geology at the University of Maryland, who co-authored the study.
“Often active tectonics are not seen anywhere other than Earth, so it is very exciting to think that these faults can still produce earthquakes on the Moon,” he added.