Scientists now have the moon’s fire fountains explained by carefully reanalyzing the tiny orange and green glass beads brought over in soil samples from our planet’s natural satellite forty years ago. Clues to the moon’s origins are being theorized and slowly crawling to an answer with each new discovery.
Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 returned to Earth with moon samples that are now under the scrutiny of scientists worldwide. According to Bruno Scaillet at University of Orleans in France, the lunar volcanic glasses have been more likely formed by eruptions across the moon’s surface, otherwise called “fire fountains”. The small splatters cooled quickly and formed the glass.
It has led to numerous other questions, such as how eruptions even took place. The presence of volcanoes upon our planet’s satellite has been hinted by the large craters scattered upon its surface. However, eruptions on Earth require the presence of a mix between carbon dioxide gas and water, such as it’s more commonly seen in Hawaii or Iceland.
It has put to question how fire fountains were even able to erupt on the moon. Scientists at Brown University, led by Alberto Saal, have recently gone over the samples brought over in the 1970’s and were able to recalibrate their research method, finding clues that volcanic eruptions were caused by carbon monoxide gas.
It has been long a debated and theorized matter, with no evidence to support it, according to Saal. However, more hints were now found that carbon monoxide is the answer to the moon’s fire fountain, as its craters were filled with lava in ancient times. The researchers stated that only carbon could have been the catalyst of eruptions, and it reacts with either sulfur or water.
The findings further move to confirm the fact that our planet’s natural satellite was likely once covered with magma and teeming with volcanic activity. It might also point us into the right direction in uncovering the moon’s origins.
If indeed Earth and the moon have strong similarities, such as magma, deep within their core, it fuels the two theories of how it has come to be. One theory presents with a space object the size of Mars crashing into our planet and the pieces that broke off from the heavy impact naturally banded together and formed our satellite.
Another is that the Earth and the moon share an origin, and that both broke away from an unknown source due to primitive meteorites, according to Saal. The mysteries of the moon’s origins have not yet been answered, but there is now definite proof that there were volcanic eruptions on the moon due to the presence of carbon monoxide.
Image source: vpow.org