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X-rays reveal why Moon has no active volcanoes

  • Using powerful X-rays to measure lunar rock densities, a team of scientists have found why our Moon, contrary to Earth, has no active volcanoes, and traces of its past volcanic activity.
  • The team led by Mirjam van Kan Parker and Wim van Westrenen from VU University Amsterdam suggest that the hot, molten rock in the Moon’s deep interior could be so dense that it is simply too heavy to rise to the surface like a bubble in water.
  • The driving force for vertical movement of magma is the density difference between the magma and the surrounding solid material, making the liquid magma move slowly upwards like a bubble. The lighter the liquid magma is, the more violent the upward movement will be.
  • To determine the density of lunar magma, Wim van Westrenen and his colleagues synthesised moon rock in their laboratory in Amsterdam, using the composition derived from Apollo samples as their recipe.
  • Small droplets of titanium-rich glass first found in Apollo 14 mission samples produce liquid magma as dense as the rocks found in the deepest parts of the lunar mantle today. This magma would not move towards the surface. And thats the reason volcanos are not found on the moon.


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