Tags: ancient | moon | fire | fountains | lava

Ancient Moon's Fire Fountains Looked Like a Lava-Fueled Old Faithful

Image: Ancient Moon's Fire Fountains Looked Like a Lava-Fueled Old Faithful
View of the "Old Faithful" geyser which erupts on average every 90 minutes in the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming on June 1, 2011. Scientists say the ancient moon once spewed fire fountains roughly the size of the iconic geyser. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 25 Aug 2015 08:23 AM

The ancient moon was once home to spouting fire fountains roughly the size of Earthly geysers like Old Faithful, and scientists recently discovered the element driving those eruptions.

"The carbon is the one that is producing the large spectacle," said Alberto Saal, a geologist at Brown University in Providence and co-author of a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Monday, Space.com reported.

"With a little bit of water, with a little bit of sulfur — but the main driver is carbon. All these volatile elements . . . are in concentrations that are very similar to the lava that formed the ocean floor of the Earth."

Saal explained that he and a team of scientists came to their new conclusion by studying volcanic glass from the moon.

As it cooled, the ancient glass acted as a time capsule, trapping tiny gas bubbles as they spewed out of the moon's surface. Those time capsules have now been examined and unlocked, and scientists have found that the once-molten core of the moon was full of carbon.

The carbon was prone to rising from the moon's core and erupting through the surface because of depressurization — much like in a bottle of modern-day soda pop.

"Imagine that you have a soda. If you open the lid, you will see that a lot of gas will [escape] from the liquid — that's because you decreased the pressure," Saal said. "As the melts move from the deep to the surface . . . you get more and more bubbles, because the liquid cannot hold these gases in it as you decrease the pressure."

Erik Hauri, a geochemist at Carnegie Institution for Science and a co-author of the new paper, explained that the examination of the volcanic glass and its constituent elements was not easy.

"This breakthrough depended on the ability of Carnegie's NanoSIMS ion probe to measure incredibly low levels of carbon, on objects that are the diameter of a human hair," he said in a statement.

The formation of Earth, the moon, and the surrounding solar system was a volatile and violent one. The moon, for example, was hot and molten when it formed because it was born during the collision of a Mars-sized object with Earth.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
The ancient moon was once home to spouting fire fountains roughly the size of Earthly geysers like Old Faithful, and scientists recently discovered the element driving those eruptions.
ancient, moon, fire, fountains, lava
375
2015-23-25
Tuesday, 25 Aug 2015 08:23 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved