Differences between the near and far sides of the moon were associated with an ancient giant collision

(ORDO NEWS) — The side of the Moon, with which it is always facing the Earth, differs sharply from its far side. The near side is dominated by the so-called “lunar seas” – vast dark lava plains.

The crater-strewn far side of the Moon, on the other hand, is almost devoid of large-scale “seas.” The reasons for this difference between the two different sides of the moon still raise questions from scientists.

Now the researchers have proposed a new explanation for this dichotomy – a version associated with a giant collision that occurred several billion years ago in the vicinity of the south pole of the moon.

A new study shows that this collision, which formed the giant South Pole-Aitken Basin, could send a powerful flow of heat into the interior of the moon.

Such a flow could carry certain materials – rare earths and radioactive elements – to the near side of the moon. The increased concentration of these elements on the near side of the Moon may have contributed to the volcanism that resulted in the “seas” observed today.

“We know that large impacts, like the impact that formed the South Pole-Aitken Basin, are accompanied by a lot of heat,” said Matt Jones of Brown University, USA, who is the lead author of the new study. – The question is how this heat affects the dynamics of the interior of the moon.

We have shown that under any conditions that are actually possible at the time of the formation of the South Pole-Aitken basin, heat-releasing chemical elements are concentrated on the near side of the Moon.

We think that this contributed to the melting of the mantle and the formation of lava flows, which are now found in a frozen form on the near side of the Moon.

According to the authors, this study allows us to connect and resolve two important scientific problems associated with the Moon – the problem of the concentration of fuel elements near the surface of the near side of the Moon and the problem of the difference between the surface of the Moon on its near and far sides.


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