A new scientific study explains the nature of lava eruptions on the ancient moon. It seems carbon monoxide was the element that ignited the fire explosions on the moon, unlike earthly ones, which are set off by carbon dioxide and water.
In the Universe’s early era, the moon was formed via an impact of great amplitude, 4.5 million years ago, when a Mars-sized space object hit the Earth. Initially, in those times, the lunar surface was quite different from how it is today.
Conditions on the moon in its first stages were influenced by magma explosions which had their origin deep in the moon’s core. The magma erupted in fiery explosions, as the lunar surface was hot and active. A scientific team recently revealed the fact that there was a gas responsible for all this – carbon monoxide.
A geologist at Brown University in Providence and co-author of the study, Alberto Saal, explained that the main culprit for the lava eruptions was carbon monoxide, but small amounts of water and sulfur had a role as well.
It seems that both the early moon’s nature and early Earth’s were rather alike. Their elemental concentrations were similar. So it seems that the Earth and moon shared a common volatile elemental source.
The study of volcanic glasses that were scattered across the lunar surface pointed out that the gas behind the eruptions was indeed carbon monoxide. Volcanic glasses are igneous rocks made via the cooling of molten lava too rapidly to permit crystallization. It was discovered that these rocks contained various gases that could have escaped in other circumstances.
Researchers revealed that, as the carbon monoxide approached the lunar surface, the pressure decreased, therefore the gas was propelled upward. Thus, the ascension ended in an explosion, with lava erupting out of the lunar surface.
So, there was a combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and the eruptions were caused by a mix of carbon and oxygen, whereas the hydrogen escaped afterwards, respectively. Moreover, it was proven that the carbon degassed before other volatile elements, such as sulfur, chlorine and fluorine.
Therefore, the scientific team finally pointed out that all the inferences about the moon and Earth’s common origin and common volatile substances would help them better understand the moon’s evolution.
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