Study explains why the near and far sides of the Moon look different


  • A new study explained why the sides of the Moon seem different from each other.
  • The near side of the Moon shows signs of volcanic activity.
  • Radioactive elements may have caused increased volcanic activity on the Moon.

A team of scientists presented a new theory that explains the great difference between the two sides of the Moon. According to their study, the differences may have been caused by factors that triggered volcanic activity below the lunar surface.

The new study was carried out by an international team of scientists. They presented their findings in a new article published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The Moon is blocked by the tide on Earth, which means that only one side is constantly looking at the planet. This side is characterized by dark spots on the surface, which are known as moon maria. These are dark basalt plains that were formed by the ancient volcanic activity of the Moon.

On the other hand, the other side of the Moon, or the one far from Earth, has a paler appearance due to the smaller number of lunar marias on the surface. Also, this side of the Moon has a thicker crust.

After creating a thermal model of the Moon, a group of scientists discovered another huge difference between the near and far sides. According to their findings, the side of the Moon that faces Earth is unusually rich in various elements such as potassium, phosphorus, and other rare earth elements.

The element-rich region has been labeled Procellarum KREEP Terrane based on the atomic symbols for the elements in the area. Previous observations have revealed that this region has heat generating properties due to its abundance of radioactive elements. According to the researchers, these properties may have led to high volcanic activity in the area.

Scientists said this may explain why the near side of the Moon seems so different from its far side. Conducting follow-up studies on the Procellarum Tercel KREEP and its properties could provide important information on how the region affected the volcanic activities of the Moon and its general formation.

“In particular, regions on the near side of the Moon have concentrations of radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium unlike anywhere else on the Moon,” planetary scientist Matthieu Laneuville, one of the co-authors of the study, said in a statement. study.

“Understanding the origin of these local uranium and thorium enrichments can help explain the early stages of the Moon’s formation and, as a consequence, conditions on early Earth,” he added.

Earth has captured a 'mini moon' but is unlikely to be in orbit for long Earth has captured a ‘mini moon’ but is unlikely to be in orbit for long Photo: AFP / ISHARA S. KODIKARA