Scientists spy new evidence of water in the Moon’s interior

Posted: July 24, 2017 by oldbrew in moon, research, solar system dynamics
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They admit that “The exact origin of water in the lunar interior is still a big question”, as reports. The article also points out that ‘The idea that the interior of the Moon is water-rich raises interesting questions about the Moon’s formation.’ Perhaps they are suggesting that some prevailing theories might no longer…er…hold water.

A new study of satellite data finds that numerous volcanic deposits distributed across the surface of the Moon contain unusually high amounts of trapped water compared with surrounding terrains.

The finding of water in these ancient deposits, which are believed to consist of glass beads formed by the explosive eruption of magma coming from the deep lunar interior, bolsters the idea that the lunar mantle is surprisingly water-rich.

Scientists had assumed for years that the interior of the Moon had been largely depleted of water and other volatile compounds.

That began to change in 2008, when a research team including Brown University geologist Alberto Saal detected trace amounts of water in some of the volcanic glass beads brought back to Earth from the Apollo 15 and 17 missions to the Moon.

In 2011, further study of tiny crystalline formations within those beads revealed that they actually contain similar amounts of water as some basalts on Earth. That suggests that the Moon’s mantle—parts of it, at least—contain as much water as Earth’s.

“The key question is whether those Apollo samples represent the bulk conditions of the lunar interior or instead represent unusual or perhaps anomalous water-rich regions within an otherwise ‘dry’ mantle,” said Ralph Milliken, lead author of the new research and an associate professor in Brown’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences.

“By looking at the orbital data, we can examine the large pyroclastic deposits on the Moon that were never sampled by the Apollo or Luna missions. The fact that nearly all of them exhibit signatures of water suggests that the Apollo samples are not anomalous, so it may be that the bulk interior of the Moon is wet.”

The research, which Milliken co-authored with Shuai Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii and a recent Brown Ph.D. graduate, is published in Nature Geoscience.

Continued here.

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  2. oldbrew says:

    More comets = more water?

    “Extinction by Ice” –Massive Comets From Oort Belt More Common Threat to Earth Than Previously Thought
    July 25, 2017

    The existence of so many more long-period comets than predicted suggests that more of them have likely impacted planets, delivering icy materials from the outer reaches of the solar system.

    Researchers also found clustering in the orbits of the long-period comets they studied, suggesting there could have been larger bodies that broke apart to form these groups.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Gallium in lunar samples explains loss of moon’s easily vaporized elements
    July 31, 2017

    In this new effort, the researchers looked at the gallium isotope in moon samples and found that its low boiling point, its resilience to evaporation during magmatic events and other characteristics suggest that the differences in amounts of gallium on the moon versus the Earth could, indeed, be explained by a huge evaporative event—such as hot magma covering the surface of the moon.

    This finding bolsters the theory that the moon was created by something colliding with the Earth.

    Read more at: