· ·

Moon mineral Tranquillityite found in western Australia

moon-mineral-tranquillityite-discovered-in-western-australia

Scientists have identified what appear to be terrestrial versions of tranquillityite in billion-year-old rocksin Western Australia. Tranquillityite is a mineral consisting of iron, zirconium, yttrium, titanium, silicon and oxygen. It is named after the moon’s Sea of Tranquility, where it was first discovered on the Apollo 11 mission. Until now, it was only seen in samples returned from the moon, as well as in lunar meteorites.

Researcher Birger Rasmussen, a geologist at Curtin University in Bentley, Australia said it took more than 40 years to find tranquillityite in rocks on Earth. Tranquillityite was probably not found until now because it is relatively rare and small. Tranquillityite is also prone to alteration during later heating and fluid flow. The usual techniques used by geologists to examine the dolerite rocks that terrestrial tranquillityite was ultimately found in also might have missed the mineral. Scientists usually analyze dolerite by crushing it but now scientistss investigated polished slices of it under a scanning electron microscope.  Their research of rocks from Western Australia suggests tranquillityite is a relatively widespread, albeit minor, mineral there.

The scientists detailed their findings in the January issue of the journal Geology. 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.

Featured image:  A red-brown tranquillityite crystal about 150 microns long from northwestern Australia. (Credit: Birger Rasmussen)

If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.

Share:

Producing content you read on this website takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. If you value what we do here, select the level of your support and register your account.

Your support makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share.

All our supporters can browse the website without ads, allowing much faster speeds and a clean interface. Your comments will be instantly approved and you’ll have a direct line of communication with us from within your account dashboard. You can suggest new features and apps and you’ll be able to use them before they go live.

You can choose the level of your support.

Stay kind, vigilant and ready!

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.