According to secular scientists, the Moon is roughly 4.5 billion years old. It supposedly formed right after the Solar System did. But there’s a growing body of evidence that this old-age assessment is incorrect.
(Of course, this isn’t the only problem for secular ideas of the Moon’s formation. The “giant impact” model is known to be wrong. It is still being taught today anyway, but only because secular scientists don’t have any better ideas.)
The Moon’s supposed age of billions of years was never correct, of course. But it was easier for secular scientists to make that claim a few decades ago—back when we didn’t know as much about the Moon as we do now.
The challenges arise from simple, well-understood physics:
- Hot things cool off.
- Small hot things cool off more quickly than large hot things. (Small objects have a high surface-area-to-volume ratio. Thus, they lose heat more quickly.)
The Moon is a small object. According to secular theories, it should have cooled from its formation long ago. A small, cold body would have no source of energy for geological activity. (Although there are tidal interactions between the Moon and Earth, these don’t supply significant amounts of energy.)
Therefore, the Moon’s geological activity also should have ceased long ago.
But apparently it didn’t. Here are three indicators of recent tectonic activity within the Moon:
- Volcanic eruptions
- TLP (Transient Lunar Phenomena)
- Seismic activity (moonquakes)
Here’s why these discoveries are interesting.
If the Moon is (or recently was) geologically active, this activity indicates that it’s still hot inside. And if it’s still hot inside, it hasn’t cooled off yet.
And if it hasn’t cooled off yet, then it isn’t billions of years old.
Let’s discuss these recent discoveries.
The Apollo program revealed many new things about our Moon. One was the existence of irregular mare patches (IMPs), like the one in Mare Tranquillitatis, shown in the photo above.
These small patches of volcanic rock were unknown before Apollo 15. Typically they are so small (a few hundred meters across) that we can’t see them from Earth.
Since 2009, NASA’s LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) has been orbiting the Moon. It has found dozens more IMPs. Today, more than 70 of them are known.
IMPs are thought to have formed from basaltic volcanic eruptions. This is interesting, because apparently, the eruptions happened recently.
Secular scientists have calculated that some IMPs formed 50-100 million years ago. Although that might not sound very recent, this age assignment is an interesting result, for two reasons.
First, the age is calculated by correlating the (small) number of impact craters on the IMPs to the radiometric ages of lunar samples taken by the Apollo and Luna programs.
However, as creationary scientists have repeatedly shown, radiometric dating methods tend to produce age measurements that are far too high. This would indicate that IMPs are actually much younger than 50 million years.
More importantly, even this alleged age of 50 million years doesn’t match the expectations of secular astronomers. They believed that the Moon has been volcanically dead for one billion years. (That’s 1,000 million years.)
But IMPs show that the Moon was still oozing out lava until quite recently—basically, for its entire existence. And this cannot be, if the Moon were actually more than four billion years old.
Let’s not underestimate the significance of this discovery. When the LRO results were first released, NASA issued a statement (“NASA Mission Finds Widespread Evidence of Young Lunar Volcanism”). It included this comment from LRO project scientist John Keller:
“This finding is the kind of science that is literally going to make geologists rewrite the textbooks about the moon.”
Unfortunately, each time the textbooks get rewritten, they still wind up trying to justify a billions-of-years age for the Moon.
Maybe if the authors reconsidered that particular piece of dogma, they wouldn’t have to rewrite the textbooks so often.
Once every few days, there is a flash or glow observed on the Moon’s surface. Some are short, lasting only a few seconds. Others last for a few hours.
Some TLP events are explainable by causes such as meteor impacts. Others seem to be the result of solar radiation interacting with clouds of moon dust.
These dust-cloud events are challenging to long-age theories. Apparently, the Moon regularly burps out puffs of gas, which are kicking up these clouds of moon dust.
But if the Moon were old, it shouldn’t be burping anymore.
In the past, secular astronomers mostly ignored TLPs. However, this is finally changing. A scientist in Germany has built a dedicated lunar telescope for monitoring and documenting TLP events. Later, once its software is refined and perfected, there are plans to deploy it on a satellite, for more accurate observations outside of Earth’s atmosphere.
As I discussed in my Solar System video, TLP events have been observed for centuries. They provide evidence that our Moon is still active today.
It’s nice to see that they are finally going to be studied systematically.
Seismic Activity (Moonquakes)
Another indicator of geological activity is seismic events, i.e. moonquakes.
Four of the Apollo missions left seismometers on the Moon. These functioned for eight years, and sent back data on thousands of moonquakes.
Most of the quakes were the result of gravitational effects. (The Moon experiences tidal forces as it orbits the Earth.) Some were the result of the Sun’s heat. (Day-to-night temperature swings can be above 500 degrees Fahrenheit.) A few small quakes were even measured when human-built objects were crashed into the lunar surface (to calibrate the seismometers).
That accounted for most of the seismic events, but not all of them. There were still 28 quakes which were unexplained. These seemed to originate from inside the Moon. For 40 years, these events remained mysterious and poorly-understood.
Earlier this year (2019), a study published in Nature Geoscience re-examined these quakes. Using data from LRO and software developed for analyzing quakes on Earth, these researchers calculated that the moonquakes originated within scarps (narrow faults on the Moon’s surface).
If there are quakes occurring along scarps, what does this mean? Thomas Watters of the Smithsonian Institution (and coauthor of the study) explained:
“That means, for all intents and purposes, the moon is tectonically active… To me, that’s an amazing result.”
Why is it amazing? Because, as Watters said:
“The whole idea that a 4.6-billion-year-old rocky body like the moon has managed to stay hot enough in the interior and produce this network of faults just flies in the face of conventional wisdom.”
Indeed it does. That’s because the conventional wisdom—the idea that the Moon is billions of years old—is wrong.
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University