How did the lunar swirls originate?

On the surface of our moon, even in a fairly simple telescope, you can see light swirls. According to scientists they are caused by the magnetization of surface rocks. A theory has recently been put forward as to how they arise.

Moon. Source:

Lunar swirls

Recently, scientists published a paper in which they tried to explain how the lunar swirls arose. Of course, there is not a single drop of water on the surface of our moon. Nevertheless, if you take even a relatively small telescope and look at the Moon, you can see light curved lines on the darker parts of its surface. 

Explaining their origins is difficult enough, but scientists have generally done this long enough. The point is that some rocks on the surface of the Moon turn out to be magnetized. And there are quite a lot of such pieces of rock there, they stretch for hundreds of kilometers.

Particles of sunlight that should have fallen on these rocks are deflected by the magnetic field and fall on neighboring areas. As a consequence, they change color, but the rocks themselves don’t. This creates the patterns we call lunar swirls.

The problem with this theory is that the Moon has no global magnetic field at all. These could be some localized fields, but no one can confirm their existence on the surface of our moon. No astronaut or lunar rover has ever explored the swirls. It may happen for the first time in 2025 during the Lunar Vertex mission.

From where the magnetic field comes from

There are two main theories as to where the magnetic field in the lunar swirls comes from. The first one states that its source is the collision with meteorites. It does happen from time to time, but there are some lunar patterns that simply could not have resulted from such a collision.

Another theory explains the occurrence of magnetic fields by the presence of pockets of liquid magma beneath the surface. Scientists have focused on it in a new study. They conducted experiments on the magnetization of various rocks.

Earth rocks in the presence of an atmosphere are magnetized quite easily. And that’s because they contain quite a bit of the iron-rich mineral, magmatite. However, the moon just doesn’t have it. But there is ilmenite. It has less iron in it, but it’s there.

Therefore, it is quite possible to magnetize it. However, the fields are not very strong. But if the particles of this material are very small, it turns out better. Therefore, scientists have proved that lunar swirls are formed in this way.

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