Water on the Moon may have come from ancient volcanic eruptions: Study
Since NASA confirmed presence of water on the moon, several studies have been done to understand the source of water on the surface. And now, a new study has pointed to a highly unlikely source for this water. It states that the presence of water on Earth’s nearest neighbor could be the result of volcanism – which we know has occurred a number of times on the moon in the past.
Volcanic activity of moon probably started as early as 4.2 billion years ago. It probably existed until about 1 billion years ago. The dark patches we see today on the lunar surface, are vast plains of volcanic rock that emerged as a result of this large-scale volcanic activity. Scientists are trying to find out if those volcanic eruptions could have released gases that had been trapped before. And whether these gases could fall back to the Moon’s surface and form ice sheets in permanently dark regions, away from sunlight.
The scientists added that this could be a possibility. “Our model suggests that [around] 41% of the total volume of H2O ejected during this period may have condensed into ice in the polar regions, with thicknesses of up to several hundred meters,” the researchers wrote in their study, published in the journal Nature.[https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/PSJ/ac649c/meta” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>The Planetary Science Journal.
They said the research suggested the volcanically active period of the Moon would have been short-lived, leading to efficient sequestration of water ice at the poles and availability of water ice and vapour at all latitudes.
Researchers have based their study on the hypothesis that not all water vapours spewed out by the lunar volcanic eruptions were dissipated in the solar wind; some of that could have settled like frost. And thus, water on the moon could have come from this unlikely but possible source.