facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

New type of moon rock identified

Nov. 3, 2010 at 7:08 PM   |   Comments

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Nov. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say a new type of rock on the moon, the first new variety identified in decades, is probably ancient material born deep inside the moon.

Located on the far side of the moon and undetected until a space probe measured its odd mineralogy, the rocks are located in a few isolated deposits, ScienceNews.org reported Wednesday.

"These are very unusual areas," Carle Pieters, a planetary geologist at Brown University, told a meeting of the Geological Society of America Tuesday.

Pieters calls the new rock type OOS because it is rich in the minerals orthopyroxene, olivine and spinel.

The spinel, a gemstone prized on Earth, is particularly intriguing, scientists say, as it occurs only in the smallest trace amounts in every other part of the moon.

How the OOS material got where it is remains something of a mystery.

Most scientists think the moon formed when a Mars-sized object hit the infant Earth 4.5 billion years ago, knocking a large amount of material into Earth orbit where it cooled and solidified to form the moon.

The newly identified, spinel-rich areas could be from those early days, Pieters says, part of the moon that cooled early on deep in the crust and later came to the surface through some kind of geologic action.

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
SpaceX Dragon returns safely from ISS, splashes into Pacfic Ocean SpaceX Dragon returns safely from ISS, splashes into Pacfic Ocean
2
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
3
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
4
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
5
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback