Moon’s lunar poles have shifted over last 3 billion years

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A new study suggests that the Moon’s lunar poles have shifted due to the geological activity beneath its crust.

The study suggests that some 3.5 billion years ago, the moon’s internal volcanic activity melted a portion of its mantle, causing it to bubble up toward its surface.

“This giant blob of hot mantle was lighter than cold mantle elsewhere. “This change in mass caused Procellarum—and the whole moon—to move,” Matt Siegler, Planetary scientist at Southern Methodist University, Dallas told Phys.org.

The moon’s axis shifted 5.5 degrees, which is roughly 125 miles. It is roughly the distance from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia.

The shifted axis has also caused the moon to lose much of its ice deposits, as they were exposed to the sun. Such discovery may also contribute to the research of where Earth’s water came from.

“We don't know where the Earth's water came from. It appears to have come from the outer solar system well after the Earth and moon formed. Ice on other bodies, like the moon or Mercury, might give us a clue to its origin,” Siegler said.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Depiction of the moon’s internal volcanic activity
2. The mare of the moon highlighted
3. Depiction of lighter density leading the poles to shift 5.5 degrees
4. Depiction of the shifted distance equal to the distance between Washington D.C. and Philadelphia
5. Depiction of the moon losing its old ice deposits

VOICEOVER (in English):

“Some 3.5 billion years ago, the moon’s internal volcanic activity melted a portion of its mantle, causing it to bubble up toward its surface.”

“The melted matter formed the visible dark patches, known as the mare, on the moon’s surface.”

“The hot, melted surface was lighter in density than the colder area around it, which has led the moon’s axis to shift 5.5 degrees.”

“The shifted distance is roughly 125 miles, which equals the distance from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia.”

“The shifted axis has also caused the moon to lose much of its ice deposits as they were exposed to the sun.”

SOURCES: Phys.org, Washington Post, Science Mag, Space.com
http://phys.org/news/2016-03-earth-moon-axis-billions-years.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/03/23/volcanic-activity-may-have-shifted-the-moons-axis/
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/update-lopsided-ice-moon-points-past-shift-poles
http://www.space.com/32354-moon-polar-shift-water-ice.html