Compared to the potholes on the front, there are very few dark areas on the back of the moon. Decades after the first observations, researchers recently came up with a new hypothesis that the key is the uneven distribution of radioactive elements when the moon was formed.
The features on the back of the moon are far less rich than what we see every night. The dark area on the back of the moon is much smaller, known as “maria” or “sea”. Scientists have long believed that it was caused by uneven impact of other objects, or volcanic activity. But now scientists believe this may be the result of a multifactory effect, and that some specific isotopes may have played a big role.
In the press release, it was written.
In this hypothesis, potassium (K), th, and uranium (U) are not critical. This means that they appear in a variety of atomic configurations with variable neutron numbers. These variable-component atoms are called “isotopes”, some of which are unstable and scatter to produce other elements, generating heat.
These elements are thought to be rich in the near side of the moon, and the heat generated by radioactive decay may increase volcanic activity and cause large areas on the near side of the moon to appear deeper.
Matthieu Laneuville, co-author of the study, said in a statement:
Due to the relative lack of erosion process, geological events from the early history of the solar system are recorded on the lunar surface. In particular, the region near the moon has a different concentration of radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium than elsewhere on the moon. Understanding the origins of these local uranium and thorium enrichments could help explain the early stages of lunar formation, and thus the conditions on early Earth.