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Writer Fuel: The Moon Shakes a Lot More Than We Knew

A photograph of the moon's surface. (Image credit: NASA)

The moon is much more seismically active than we realized, a new study shows. A reanalysis of abandoned data from NASA’s Apollo missions has uncovered more than 22,000 previously unknown moonquakes — nearly tripling the total number of known seismic events on the moon.

Moonquakes are the lunar equivalent of earthquakes, caused by movement in the moon’s interior. Unlike earthquakes, these movements are caused by gradual temperature changes and meteorite impacts, rather than shifting tectonic plates (which the moon does not have, according to NASA). As a result, moonquakes are much weaker than their terrestrial counterparts.

Between 1969 and 1977, seismometers deployed by Apollo astronauts detected around 13,000 moonquakes, which until now were the only such lunar seismic events on record. But in the new study, one researcher spent months painstakingly reanalyzing some of the Apollo records and found an additional 22,000 lunar quakes, bringing the total to 35,000.

“Writer Fuel” is a series of cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration. Story From Live Science

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