An international team of scientists led by the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada has discovered that the formation of ancient rocks on the moon can be directly related to the fall of meteorites on its surface. To do this, scientists conducted new studies of satellite soil samples that NASA astronauts collected during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
They found: stones contain mineralogical evidence that they formed at incredibly high temperatures – over 2,300 ° C. They can only be achieved by melting the outer layer of the planet as a result of a major blow.
Researchers also found cubic zirconium in the soil – this mineral phase was formed only in rocks heated to temperatures above 2,300 ° C; the crystal still retains the distinguishing features of a high-temperature structure. The interactive image of the complex crystal used in the study can be seen using a virtual microscope.
Assessing its structure, the researchers also measured the age of the grains – it turned out that they formed about 4.3 billion years ago. This indicates that large impacts were important for the formation of new rocks on the moon.