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New data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests that lunar volcanism petered out slowly and occurred more recently that previously believed.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has provided researchers strong evidence the moon’s volcanic activity slowed gradually instead of stopping abruptly a billion years ago. Scores of distinctive rock deposits observed by LRO are estimated to be less than 100 million years old. This time period corresponds to Earth’s Cretaceous period, the heyday of dinosaurs. Some areas may be less than 50 million years old. Details of the study are published online in Sunday’s edition of Nature Geoscience. “This finding is the kind of science that is literally going to make geologists rewrite the textbooks about the moon,” said John Keller, LRO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
In a way, this new conclusion is an example of science discovering the obvious. It seems to me quite unlikely that volcanic activity on the Moon would have “stopped abruptly” under any conditions. That’s not how these things work.