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
As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation
29.03.2017 | University of Hawaii at Manoa
Researchers discover dust plays prominent role in nutrients of mountain forest ecoystems
29.03.2017 | University of Wyoming
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering