You are here: Home » News-ANI » Science
Business Standard

Here's why fire fountains erupted on moon's surface

ANI 

In a breakthrough discovery, scientists have found the volatile gas that drove eruptions on the moon.

Fire fountains require the presence of volatiles mixed in with the erupting lava. Volatile compounds turn into gas as the lavas rise from the depths. That expansion of that gas causes lava to blast into the air once it reaches the surface, a bit like taking the lid of a shaken bottle of soda.

The research suggests that lava associated with lunar fire fountains contained significant amounts of carbon. As it rose from the lunar depths, that carbon combined with oxygen to make substantial amounts carbon monoxide (CO) gas. That CO gas was responsible for the fire fountains that sprayed volcanic glass over parts of the lunar surface.

In the research, Author Alberto Saal of the Brown University and his colleagues carefully analysed glass beads brought back to Earth from the Apollo 15 and 17 missions.

They looked at samples that contained melt inclusions, tiny dots of molten magma that became trapped within crystals of olivine.

The researchers devised a theoretical model of how gases would escape from lunar magma at various depths and pressures, calibrated from the results of high-pressure lab experiments. The model had long been used for Earth.

The model showed that carbon, as it combines with oxygen to form CO gas, would have degassed before other volatiles.

Saal said that most of the carbon would have degassed deep under the surface, and added that other volatiles like hydrogen degassed later, when the magma was much closer to the surface and after the lava began breaking up into small globules, that suggested that carbon was driving the process in its early stages.

The study is published in the Journal Nature Geoscience.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Tue, August 25 2015. 14:19 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU