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Rare Moon Mineral Found on Earth

Posted: January 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler Science News, Geology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rare Moon Mineral Found on Earth

NASA Apollo 8 - December 24, 1968 - EarthriseA 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 1 billion years old. In this month’s issue of Geology, Birger Rasmussen, a geologist at Curtin University in Australia, and his colleagues report that they’ve finally found tranquillityite on our planet.   Named after Apollo 11’s 1969 landing site at the Sea of Tranquility, tranquillityite was one of three minerals first discovered in rocks from the Moon and the only one not to be found, in subsequent years, on Earth.

The West Australian mineral was dated at 1.07 billion years old, more ancient than rocks in the area had previously been thought to be, Rasmussen said tranquillityite would be useful in dating similar rocks in the future.”They were always part of Earth. They haven’t come from the Moon,” Rasmussen said

The discovery has important practical applications, with the mineral proving to be an excellent dating tool which had allowed scientists to pin down the rocks’ ages. “We used this mineral… to date the dolerite which has previously been undated, so that helped us understand the geological history,” Rasmussen said. “It tells you that broadly overall you have similar chemistries and similar processes operating on the Moon as on Earth.” Read the full article »»»»