Volcanoes Erupted On The Moon Within The Past 100 Million Years
Our lifeless Moon just turned the corner into pretty hot and tempting. It turns out Earth’s satellite was once rife with volcanic activity, and some of its eruptions occurred within the past 100 million years, perhaps even within the past 50 million years. That’s about a billion years earlier than originally assumed.
The discovery reveals that the Moon is still somewhat warm, containing more heat than previously believed. This news may alter the perceived timeline of the Moon’s thermal evolution, changing what we know about its origins and how it formed over time. In a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, researchers from Arizona State University analyzed landforms on the Moon’s surface using images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a satellite that has been orbiting the Moon since 2009. Through their analysis, the researchers discovered up to 70 topographic anomalies called Irregular Mare Patches, or IMPs. IMPs are weird formations in the lunar maria, or basaltic plains on the Moon’s surface. They're thought to be leftover remnants of small volcanic eruptions.