Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists gain new insights into the development of the moon

26.01.2009
A team of scientists, including a researcher from the University of Münster, has discovered the oldest zircons from the moon ever to be found.

On the basis of these crystals the researchers have gained important new insights into the history of the moon's development. Their results are presented in the latest issue of the prestigious Nature Geoscience magazine.

Dr. Thorsten Geisler-Wierwille from the Institute of Mineralogy at the University of Münster has been examining tiny zircon crystals with his colleagues from Australia and the USA. The crystals come from moonrock already collected 36 years ago on the Apollo 17 mission. With the the help of modern microanalytical processes and uranium-lead dating the scientists have ascertained the age of the crystals. The oldest zircon they found is about 4.4 billion years old.

This very precise dating of the crystals' age enables the scientists to reconstruct for the first time, and more accurately, the crystallization and cooling history of the magma ocean on the moon. This magma ocean was formed after a collision around 4.5 billion years ago between the young Earth and a proto-planet the size of Mars.

"Any reconstruction of the cooling history was only possible to a limited extent before this," says Geisler-Wierwille, "because isotope systems that could have been used to ascertain age were badly damaged by intense meteorite impacts on the moon around 3.9 billion years ago. However, the uranium-lead dating system is very stable in the face of extreme pressures and temperatures and is therefore highly suitable for establishing how long ago things were formed."

The crystallization of zircon in the lunar magma indicates that at this point there was only a small quantity of magma still in existence. The scientists conclude that almost the entire magma ocean was solidified 100 million years after the moon was formed.

Dr. Geisler-Wierwille made the headlines once before with the discovery of especially old crystals. He and Martina Menneken from the WWU's Institute of Mineralogy belong to a team of researchers who in 2007 found the oldest diamonds in the world.

Dr. Christina Heimken | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-muenster.de/Mineralogie/personen/geisler.html
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo417.html
http://www.uni-muenster.de/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Geophysicists and atmospheric scientists partner to track typhoons' seismic footprints
16.02.2018 | Princeton University

nachricht NASA finds strongest storms in weakening Tropical Cyclone Sanba
15.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells

20.02.2018 | Life Sciences

MRI technique differentiates benign breast lesions from malignancies

20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering

Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>