Syllabus: GS1/ Important Geographical phenomenon
- An earthquake is caused when tectonic plates shift, however, the quakes themselves aren’t restricted to the earth.
- Small tremors have also been detected on the moon. They aren’t the handiwork of tectonic plates.
- Instead, the moon is practically groaning from extreme temperature differences – from 121 degrees to –133 degrees Celsius, a breathtaking range of 250 degrees Celsius. The resulting strain leads to seismic activities called moonquakes.
- They can also occur due to meteors striking the lunar surface. Indeed, the surface is pockmarked with thousands of craters – not surprising because the moon’s lack of an atmosphere allows even small impacts to be powerful enough to deform the ground.
- Researchers also found another cause that the Apollo 17 lunar lander module (1972), may also have triggered some tremors.
- Scientists using artificial intelligence found that the lander itself set off very feeble seismic movements on the moon as it adjusted to the natural satellite’s drastic temperature changes.
- As countries around the world, including India, plan to establish outposts on the lunar surface, studying moonquakes and their causes is crucial.
- It will also help us build structures on the moon that don’t topple if a lander descends nearby.