According to the pictures captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the moon is slowly shrinking and quacking. It is causing wrinkles in the crust and leading to moonquakes.
The moon does not have tectonic plates like Earth. The moon’s interior has cooled down over the last hundred million years. This has caused its surface to wrinkle and shrink. When it shrinks the brittle crust of the moon breaks creating stair-step cliffs called thrust faults.
Thousands of cliffs are scattered across the surface of the moon. Since 2009, the orbiter has taken snaps of over 3500 of them. Now today, the moon is 50 meters “skinnier” because of this whole process. As it is shrinking, it produces moonquakes along the faults. Researches have re-analyzed the seismic data they had from the moon to compare with the orbiter images.
The findings were that 28 moonquakes have been recorded in the time period between 1969 and 1977
John Keller study author and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in a statement said, “It’s really remarkable to see how data from nearly 50 years ago and from the
the mission has been combined to advance our understanding of the Moon while suggesting where future missions intent on studying the Moon’s interior processes should go.”
Thomas Watters, a senior scientist in the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington said, “Our analysis gives the first evidence that these faults are still active and likely producing moonquakes today as the Moon continues to gradually cool and shrink. Some of these quakes can be fairly strong, around five on the Richter scale.”