Shrinking moon could be causing powerful quakes

Credit: TomoNews US
Published on May 15, 2019 - Duration: 01:36s

Shrinking moon could be causing powerful quakes

MOON — Newly-published research has found evidence that the moon is shrinking and may still be tectonically active.

In a new study published in Nature Geoscience, researchers analyzed data from seismometers placed on the moon during the Apollo missions.

They found 28 recorded moonquakes between 1969 to 1977 that ranged from magnitude two to five on the Richter scale.

According to NASA, the moon shrinks as its interior cools, forming geological formations called thrust faults when sections of the brittle crust are forced up over neighboring parts.

Eight of the 28 epicenters were found to be within 30 kilometers of these faults.

Analysis also found that six of the quakes happened when the moon was at apogee.

This is the farthest point from the Earth in its orbit, and the period when our planet's gravity inflicts additional stress.

Scientists believe it's likely that the stress build up as the lunar crust is compressed by global contraction and tidal forces, causes the faults to slip and produce the quakes.

Other evidence of recent tectonic activity on the moon include tracks on the lunar surface from landslides or dislodged boulders that have not yet been erased by micrometeoroid activity.

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