Tranquillityite, A Moon Mineral – Found In Western Australia!

Posted: January 8th, 2012 in geology, Moon, nature, science
Tags: , , , , ,

Not so Fortean, but very interesting, nonetheless…

A mineral brought back to Earth by the first men on the Moon and long thought to be unique to the lunar surface has been found in Australian rocks more than one billion years old, scientists say. Image Credit: Birger Rasmussen

A mineral brought back to Earth by the first men on the Moon and long thought to be unique to the lunar surface has been found in Australian rocks more than one billion years old, scientists say. Image Credit: Birger Rasmussen

Wow! Unexpected, eh?

A remarkable find indeed… on January 5th, 2012 it was reported here on PhysOrg.com in a piece by Bob Yirka and then reported here by Universe Today in a piece by Tammy Plotner on January 7th, 2012.

From Universe Today:

When it comes to our natural human curiosity, we want to know if there’s something new out there… something we haven’t discovered yet. That’s why when lunar rock samples were returned, geologists were thrilled to find very specific minerals – armalcolite, pyroxferroite and tranquillityite – which belonged only to our Moon. However, over the years the first two were found here on Earth and tranquillityite was disclosed in specific meteorites. Named for Tranquility Base, site of the first Moon landing, tranquillityite was supposed to be the final hold-out… the last lunar unique mineral… until now.

Birger Rasmussen, paleontologist with Curtin University in Perth, and colleagues report in their Geology paper that they’ve uncovered tranquillityite in several remote locations in Western Australia. While the samples are incredibly small, about the width of a human hair and merely microns in length, their composition is undeniable. What’s more, tranquillityite may be a lot more common here on Earth than previously thought.

Rasmussen told the Sydney Morning Herald, “This was essentially the last mineral which was sort of uniquely lunar that had been found in the 70s from these samples returned from the Apollo mission.The mineral has since been found exclusively in returned lunar samples and lunar meteorites, with no terrestrial counterpart. We have now identified tranquillityite in six sites from Western Australia.”

This would seem to lend a pretty large helping of support for the theory that the Moon was created from the Earth’s material as a result of a major collision with something quite large soon after the Earth itself had formed and was apparently still cooling.

Quite plausible that both the Earth and Moon formed from a large singular blob of protoplanetary material.

I doubt this will affect the “Moon as a spaceship” guys.* “They just covered the titanium skin with Earth dirt, so yeah!” Hehehe. Interesting that it really does seem to have a titanium skin WAAAH! … but… I digress…

I’m just imagining now the scale of improbability in finding such tiny samples of pretty much anything. I find it very nearly as fascinating as the fact that they found this stuff that was previously presumed alien to our world. Very nearly. How would you get a clue as to where to look? Seriously. Look for concentrations of similar material to which it’s encased in on the Moon, perhaps? I wonder how they found the other two minerals… and if those samples were equally tiny.

Further along in the articles it is noted that Rasmussen thinks Tranquillityite took so long to find because people aren’t looking hard enough. Well… he is right in that, of course, but still it just floors me.

Just imagine what we might find if we spent the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars spent every hour of every day on “defense” (read: killing, profiteering, etc), and spent it instead on science and discovering more about this rock we live on. We know more about the Moon than we do our own oceans. I think that is a tragic thing.

Maybe that will in time change.

Peace.

* Don’t know if I should say this, but I was at one point leaning in that direction, truth be told, but not so much now, as reason stepped in. I am still as fascinated with our Moon as ever and note that it really is just tops in weirdness.

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