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Volcanoes On The Moon? Rare Silicate Volcanoes Found (PHOTOS)

Volcanoes On The Moon

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 07/26/11 07:58 PM ET Updated: 09/25/11 06:12 AM ET

If possible, volcanoes on the moon just became even more awesome.

According to NASA's Lunar Science Center, scientists have recently discovered what they believe to be dormant silicate volcanoes on the far side of the moon. While the surface of the moon is littered with more common basaltic volcanoes, the type that "ooze" magma, this new find suggests a different type of activity.

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) discovered the now dead volcanoes, according to Space.com. Previous lunar exploration missions had hinted at this type of activity on the moon, but it wasn't until this find that the presence of silicate volcanoes could be confirmed.

The find tells scientists a lot more than was previously known about volcanic activity of the Earth's largest satellite.

“To find evidence of this unusual composition located where it is, and appearing to be relatively recent volcanic activity is a fundamentally new result and will make us think again about the Moon’s thermal and volcanic evolution,” Bradley Jolliff, PhD, research professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis said.

Apparently these volcanoes, located on the far, or "dark," side of the moon present some of the youngest volcanic activity predicted to have taken place on the moon, occurring about three to four billion years ago, according to NASA.

Wired reports that, despite the cool finding, NASA's plans to return to the moon were canceled in 2010, and thus "Sadly, we probably won't get a chance to take a hands-on look anytime soon."

A Topographic Map Of The Area:

A Map Showing The Location Of The Possible Volcanoes:

The Area Of Increased Activity Outlined:

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