NASA Says Our Moon Is Shrinking and Wrinkling

By: | May 16th, 2019

Image courtesy Wikimedia commons

According to an analysis of images captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Earth’s only natural satellite, our moon is steadily shrinking which is causing wrinkles in its crust and moonquakes.

“Just as a grape wrinkles as it shrinks down to a raisin, the Moon gets wrinkles as it shrinks,” NASA said.

Moon doesn’t have tectonic plates like Earth; in its place, its tectonic activity is caused by gradual cooling down of Martian core over millions of years.

Study co-author Nicholas Schmerr, said, “As the moon cools, its overall size has contracted or decreased by about 100 meters over the past 4.5 billion years, which is why we say it is shrinking. This puts the crust under compression. If there’s enough compressive stress, the crust can fail, producing earthquakes – or in this case moonquakes,”

As the Moon’s crust is brittle it cannot stretch, causing it break apart as the shrinking happens. This shrinking and cooling has created large cliffs and faults.

These shifts do not pose any threat to Earth

There is no need to worry, as the change in the radius due to these shrinkages is small, so the effect on Earth is negligible.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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