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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Does moon too experience quakes like earth?

Moon is the only natural satellite of earth which has many theories of origin. According to one of the theories, it is believed to be made up of tectonic plates. Displacement of these rocky plates under the earth are responsible for quakes on earth.
Does similar thing happen on the moon?
Indian scientists at School of Environmental Sciences at JNU, New Delhi when analysed photos sent by Narrow Angle Camera & Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera of Chandrayaan 1, observe the presence of tectonic plates on moon. These photos are of the South Polar region of the moon. This clue of presence of tectonic plates on moon gives boost to one of the theories of the moon structure which believes that moon too has the earth like structure.
Further, scientists added that as of now we don't have any prefect method for measuring quakes on the moon. But after study of movement of these tectonic plates on the moon, we will develop a model.
This is not the first study which claims occurrences of quakes on the moon. In 2009, NASA has revealed the occurrence of a quake on the moon nearly 50 million years ago.
According to a report by Zee News, a study has revealed the presence of tectonic plates inside the moon's surface whose movement triggers earthquake similar to that on the Earth.
Saumitra Mukherjee, Professor of Geology & Remote Sensing at School of Environmental sciences in Jawaharlal Nehru University and his student Priyadarshini Singh, has examined the pictures of the surface of moon captured by the Narrow Angle camera and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera of Chandrayaan-1 which indicates the presence of tectonic plates on moon.
According to Professor Mukherjee the data gathered from south polar region of the moon shows that many signs have been found which assert that tectonic activity occurs on the lunar surface, very similar to that on our planet.
He said, "Tectonic plates at surface move due to mantle layer of earth's core and the movement of tectonic plates on moon establish that some material in liquid form is present under its surface too."
Presently, there is no way to forecast earthquakes. So examination of the tectonic plates' movements and quakes on moon and comparison with earthquakes is a step closer towards predicting their occurrence.
Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre, an institute of Indian Space Research Organisation, assisted them in the study. The articles on the study have been featured in journals like Nature India, Frontiers in Earth Science and IEEE Geoscience and remote sensing letters.

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