facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Study: Moon basin formed by giant impact

Oct. 29, 2012 at 5:43 PM   |   Comments

TOKYO, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A flattened 1,800-mile-wide section of the moon was likely caused by a collision with an asteroid the size of Austria, Japanese researchers say.

Scientists at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology said the moon's Procellarum basin, the dark part as seen from Earth many say resembles a "man in the moon," is what remains of the impact crater.

The researchers studied the distribution of minerals in mapping data obtained by the Japanese moon exploration orbiters, The Asahi Shimbun reported.

One of the minerals present is low-calcium pyroxene, likely generated when rock melted under the heat of an impact and concentrated in a near-circle around the Procellarum basin, the researchers said.

They said they believe an asteroid more than 180 miles in diameter hit the moon some 3.9 billion years ago, leaving a crater and melting much of the moon's rock under the energy of the impact.

The study was published in the British journal Nature Geoscience.

© 2012 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
Psychedelic mushrooms enable a hyperconnected brain Psychedelic mushrooms enable a hyperconnected brain
2
Endangered gray wolf may have been sighted at Grand Canyon Endangered gray wolf may have been sighted at Grand Canyon
3
Study: Earth has had water since birth of solar system Study: Earth has had water since birth of solar system
4
Google working on pill to detect cancer Google working on pill to detect cancer
5
SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback