The moon is getting smaller, causing wrinkles on its surface and moon earthquakes, according to a new study.
As the interior of the moon cools, it shrinks, causing its hard surface to crack and form fault lines, according to NASA-sponsored research. The moon has become thinner around 150 feet in the last hundred million years.
NASA posted a video on Twitter that shows fault lines on the surface of the moon.
Astronauts have placed seismometers on the moon during a series of past missions. The scientists, who determined that the moon's earthquakes are close enough to the fault lines to establish causality, published their analysis in a study in Nature Geoscience on Monday, according to NASA. The space agency has also recorded evidence of fault lines in a series of images.
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"Our analysis provides the first evidence that these faults are still active and are likely to produce lunar earthquakes as the Moon continues to cool and gradually diminish," said Thomas Watters, lead author of the study and lead scientist at the Center for Earth Studies and Planetariums at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, according to a press release published on the NASA website.
Watters says the earthquakes can be strong, about five on the Richter scale, according to the NASA statement.
You've heard about earthquakes. But what about moon earthquakes? Like a wrinkled grape that dries into a raisin, the Moon is shrinking as its interior cools and causes wrinkles or flaws to form on its brittle surface. When enough stress accumulates, it releases earthquakes: https://t.co/H3ixgywT1p pic.twitter.com/OxNrVveAQk
– NASA (@NASA) May 13, 2019