Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Moon Volcano

Solar system wide changes- scientists find recent volcanic activity on the Moon

July 25, 2011SPACE — Analysis of new images of a curious “hot spot” on the far side of the Moon reveal it to be a small volcanic province created by the upwelling of silicic magma. The unusual location of the province and the surprising composition of the lava that formed it offer tantalizing clues to the Moon’s thermal history. The hot spot is a concentration of a radioactive element thorium sitting between the very large and ancient impact craters Compton and Belkovich that was first detected by Lunar Prospector’s gamma-ray spectrometer in 1998. The Compton-Belkovich Thorium Anomaly, as it is called, appears as a bull’s-eye when the spectrometer data are projected onto a map, with the highest thorium concentration at its center. Recent observations, made with the powerful Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) optical cameras, have allowed scientists to distinguish volcanic features in terrain at the center of the bull’s-eye. High-resolution three-dimensional models of the terrain and information from the LRO Diviner instrument have revealed geological features diagnostic not just of volcanism but also of much rarer silicic volcanism.The volcanic province’s very existence will force scientists to modify ideas about the Moon’s volcanic history, says Bradley Jolliff, PhD, research professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, who led the team that analyzed the LRO images. “To find evidence of this unusual composition located where it is, and appearing to be relatively recent volcanic activity is a fundamentally new result and will make us think again about the Moon’s thermal and volcanic evolution,” he says. The work is described in the July 24 advance online issue of Nature Geoscience. Lunar volcanism is very different from terrestrial volcanism because the Moon is a small body that cooled quickly and never developed rock-recycling plate tectonics like those on our planet. The Moon, thought to have been created when a Mars-size body slammed into Earth about 4.5 billion years ago, was originally a hellish world covered by a roiling ocean of molten rock some 400 kilometers deep. But because the Moon was small and had no atmosphere, the magma ocean cooled quickly, within perhaps 100 million years. – Physics.org

Change sweeps the Solar System: Recent volcanism discovered on Venus in 2010, a raging planetary storm fueled by an atmospheric energy exchange on Saturn, and global warming discovered on Neptune’s moon Triton in 1998, changes in the Sun’s rate of radioactive decay, and resonate geologic, volcanic, and metrological changes on Earth all appear to be rooted in the same causative agent- an entropic process has been ignited throughout the Solar system from some irradiated stellar source. This process is irreversible and will increase exponentially as solar activity wanes and as the Sun’s heliosphere continues to decrease in size. -The Extinction Protocol
Sun 1
Venus 2
Triton 3

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