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Groundbreaking Study Proposes New Geologic Time Scale for Moon's History

A new geologic time scale for the Moon has been proposed, dividing its history into three Eons: the Eolunarian, Paleolunarian, and Neolunarian, each representing different geological processes and periods.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Groundbreaking Study Proposes New Geologic Time Scale for Moon's History

A groundbreaking study unveils a new geologic time scale for the Moon, segmenting its history into three Eons: the Eolunarian, Paleolunarian, and Neolunarian. This monumental development in lunar studies is the result of collaborative research led by distinguished scholars Dr. Dijun Guo from the National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dr. Jianhzong Liu from the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Dr. James W Head from Brown University.

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Understanding Moon's Evolution Through New Time Scale

The newly proposed time scale is based primarily on the analysis of volcanic activity and meteorite impact deposits. It offers a profound and nuanced understanding of the Moon's evolution, shedding light on the interplay of endogenic (internal) and exogenic (external) forces that have shaped the lunar landscape over billions of years.

Three Eons of Lunar History

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The Eolunarian Eon, spanning from 4.52 to 4.31 billion years ago, marks the era of magma ocean formation, crust differentiation, and solidification. This Eon saw endogenic forces as the dominant influencers of the lunar surface. Following the Eolunarian is the Paleolunarian Eon, from 4.31 to 3.16 billion years ago, characterized by a balance of endogenic and exogenic forces. This period was marked by significant volcanic activity, leading to the formation of large craters filled with dark basaltic lava.

The last Eon, the Neolunarian, dating from 3.16 billion years ago to the present, is characterized by the dominance of exogenic processes. This Eon saw a reduction in volcanic activity, with increased impact events and mass movements dramatically altering the lunar landscape. The oldest exogenic stratum identified in the lunar crust is the ejecta from the South Pole-Aitken Basin impact, dating back 4.31 billion years.

Application of the New Lunar Time Scale

The introduction of this new time scale has far-reaching implications, extending beyond academic circles. In 2022, it was applied in the creation of a detailed 1:2.5 million-scale lunar map by an international team of geologists. This marked a significant milestone in our understanding of the Moon's geological history. The full research paper, offering an in-depth exploration of this lunar time scale, is published in the journal Science China-Earth Sciences, though access is restricted to a paywall.

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