Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Scientists use Moon to study dinosaur killer
by Staff Writers
Columbia MD (SPX) Oct 24, 2016

The Moon's 320-kilometer-diameter Schrodinger basin is the best preserved impact basin of its size. Its broad flat floor offers several safe landing sites, and the geology within the basin is extraordinary. The 2.5-kilometer-high peak ring is 150 kilometers in diameter. During the impact event, rock rose from deep within the lunar crust and towered briefly in a central peak over the lunar surface before collapsing downward under the influence of gravity and flowing to form the mountainous peak ring seen today. A similar process is envisioned for the Chicxulub crater on Earth, which is related to the extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Image courtesy NASA Scientific Visualization Studio (NASA SVS).

A team of scientists led by Universities Space Research Association's David Kring at the Lunar and Planetary Institute is using observations of the Moon to further understand the impact on Earth that is linked to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The team concludes that the mountain-sized rings that form in the Moon's largest impact craters were produced by the collapse of central uplifts that rose tens of kilometers above the surface as a result of impact. Those findings, based on observations of the Moon's Schrodinger basin, with implications for Earth's Chicxulub crater, are published in the current edition of Nature Communications.

The Chicxulub crater is the best-preserved example of a peak-ring basin on Earth, but it is buried beneath approximately 1 kilometer of sediments. By comparison, the Schrodinger impact basin is the best-preserved basin of its size on the Moon; however, unlike the Chicxulub crater, it is exquisitely exposed on the lunar surface and accessible to study using remote sensing techniques.

The lead author, David Kring, says, "The features seen in the Schrodinger basin also paint an amazing picture of Earth's Chicxulub crater. Observations of the lunar basin suggest the rock in the Chicxulub basin's peak ring flowed, in part, because it was dissected into a large number of rocky blocks with reduced cohesion and possibly offset by kilometer-scale fault motions.

The Chicxulub peak ring, now buried, would have been composed of rocks from deep in the Earth's crust and, when emplaced, would have produced a jagged mountain range that rose from the crater floor. If one wants to imagine how the Chicxulub crater looked soon after impact, one only needs to peer at the Schrodinger basin on the Moon. "

Kring further states, "This is an excellent example of how studies of the Moon can help us better understand our own planet Earth." He adds that "future missions to the Schrodinger basin will be laced with discoveries that catalyze our understanding of planet-building processes and the impact bombardment that reshapes planetary surfaces. Studies identify the Schrodinger basin as one of the highest priority destinations for future explorers."

Scientists addressed a key question related to both basins regarding the formation of their mountain-sized peak rings. New geologic mapping of the 2.5-kilometer-high peak ring in Schrodinger suggests the rock was uplifted from the Moon's middle to lower crust.

That geologic mapping, plus complex computer simulations of the impact event, indicates that rock from depths down to 30 kilometers below the lunar surface rose in a central uplift, towered briefly at least 20 kilometers above the lunar surface, before collapsing outward to form the circular range of mountains seen today.

Within an hour of impact, a new 320-kilometer-wide basin and its enormous peak ring had been created on the Moon. Similar processes occurred when the Chicxulub crater formed on Earth 66 million years ago, although those processes occurred faster due to Earth's greater gravity. The Chicxulub impact event is famous because of its link to the extinction of dinosaurs.

Because the Schrodinger basin's peak ring came from the middle to lower crust of the Moon, it can be used to test the lunar magma ocean hypothesis and, thus, how the Moon was transformed from a molten mass into a rocky planetary body. That hypothesis suggests the Moon was once molten and, as it cooled, differentiated into layers with unique crystal compositions. The authors identified specific rocky exposures in the peak ring that robotic rovers and astronauts can sample in the future to further test that hypothesis.

Kring worked closely with LPI's Georgiana Kramer and Mitali Chandnani (formerly of the LPI and now at the University of Alaska), who used spacecraft data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Chandrayaan-1 orbiter to map the geology of the Schrodinger peak ring. Co-authors Gareth Collins (Imperial College London) and Ross Potter (formerly of the LPI and now at Brown University) took the lead on computer simulations of the Schrodinger impact event.

Research paper

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Universities Space Research Association
Asteroid and Comet Impact Danger To Earth - News and Science

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
At the Jersey shore, signs of a comet, and a climate crisis
New York NY (SPX) Oct 14, 2016
In a new study, scientists say they have found evidence along the New Jersey coast that an extraterrestrial object hit the earth at the same time a mysterious release of carbon dioxide suddenly warmed the planet, some 55.6 million years ago. The warm period, known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), is often cited as the closest analog to today's rapid human-induced climate change. ... read more

Spectacular Lunar Grazing Occultation of Bright Star on Oct. 18

Hunter's Supermoon to light up Saturday night sky

Small Impacts Are Reworking Lunar Soil Faster Than Scientists Thought

A facelift for the Moon every 81,000 years

Euro-Russian craft enters Mars orbit, but lander's fate unknown

Did it crash or land? Search on for Europe's Mars craft

Rover Conducting Science Investigations at 'Spirit Mount'

MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

Beaches, skiing and tai chi: Club Med, Chinese style

NASA begins tests to qualify Orion parachutes for mission with crew

New Zealand government open-minded on space collaboration

Growing Interest: Students Plant Seeds to Help NASA Farm in Space

Chinese astronauts reach orbiting lab: Xinhua

Astronauts enjoy range of delicacies on Shenzhou XI

China to enhance space capabilities with launch of Shenzhou-11

China launches 2 astronauts for 33-day mission

Two Russians, one American blast off to ISS

Tools Drive NASA's TReK to New Discoveries

New Instrument on ISS to Study Ultra-Cold Quantum Gases

Hurricane Nicole delays next US cargo mission to space

Swedish Space Corporation Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Esrange Space Center

Four Galileo satellites are "topped off" for Arianespace's milestone Ariane 5 launch from the Spaceport

US-Russia Standoff Leaves NASA Without Manned Launch Capabilities

Ariane 5 ready for first Galileo payload

ALMA spots possible formation site of icy giant planet

Proxima Centauri might be more sunlike than we thought

Stars with Three Planet-Forming Discs of Gas

TESS will provide exoplanet targets for years to come

Lego-like wall produces acoustic holograms

U.S. State Dept. approves $194 million radar sale to Kuwait

Pushing the boundaries of magnet design

Polymer breakthrough to improve things we use everyday

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement