Moon Mineral Found in Billion Year Old Rocks in Australia

Moon mineral has now been discovered in ancient Australian rocks. 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. The mineral commonly occurs as clusters of thin, narrow, fox-red strips in dikes or sills, bodies of rock that likely originally intruded as magma into surrounding layers of stone. Its composition is largely the same as lunar tranquillityite. Tranquillityite could help scientists better understand the history and geology of the Earth and the moon, because it has a set of properties that make it excellent for the uranium-lead method of estimating the age of very old rocks.

Birger Rasmussen, a geologist at Curtin University in Bentley, Australia, and his colleagues used tranquillityite they found to establish that volcanic rocks in northwestern Australia were about 1 billion years old, showing the sedimentary rocks they intruded upon were much older than previously supposed.

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