Scientists from Norway and France made the discovery after finding a new way to coordinate and calibrate the different systems used to determine when the lunar surface occurred.
While the new findings indicate that much of the Moon’s crust is much older than previously thought, it allows scientists to clarify the sequence of events in the evolution of the Moon’s surface.
The moon is currently pretty much stationary geologically; in other words, the craters caused by meteors and comets falling on it over time have not yet eroded.
“200 million years older”
Stephanie Werner, a faculty member at the Center for Planetary Habitability at the University of Oslo and presenting the work at the Goldschmidt Geochemistry Conference in Lyon, said:
“By looking at the traces of these collisions on the Moon, we see what the Earth would have been like without the geological churning in plate tectonics that occurred on Earth. Our studies have revealed that large parts of the Moon’s crust are about 200 million years older than previously thought.”
Researchers knew that the standard way of measuring the age of the Moon’s surface (a process known as crater counting) yielded results that were quite different from those obtained when examining rocks from the Apollo missions.
Therefore, they decided to correct the differences by matching the individually aged Apollo samples to the number of craters around the area where the sample was taken, and actually updated the information about the craters.
To be sure which Apollo specimen the surface counted as craters belonged to, the researchers also matched them with data from various lunar missions, notably India’s Chandrayaan-1 rover.
According to scientists, they managed to resolve the conflict and put the age of the Moon’s surface back by 200 million years.
“It is almost certain that the Earth has also been exposed to this meteor shower before”
The researchers underline that the findings do not change the estimates of the Moon’s age, but only the estimates of its surface.
prof. “This is an important difference,” Werner said, adding:
“This difference allows us to push back in time a period of intense meteor showers from space. We now know that this meteor shower preceded extensive volcanic activity that created ‘Man on the Moon’ patterns (volcanic plains called mare, including Mare Imbrium) Since this event took place on the Moon, it is almost certain that the Earth has also been exposed to this meteor shower before.”