The prevailing belief has been that granite is exclusive to Earth and rarely found elsewhere in the universe. However, recent discoveries have challenged this notion, particularly with the detection of granite on the Moon. This revelation has left scientists puzzled as to how this lunar granite came to exist in a place where it was thought to be virtually nonexistent.
Granite, renowned for its widespread use in countertops worldwide, typically requires specific conditions to form. Geologists, such as those from Stony Brook University, have explained that plate tectonics or water-bearing magmas are crucial elements in the formation of granite.
Previous lunar missions have yielded small traces of granite within lunar samples collected from the Moon. However, these findings pale in comparison to the vast quantities of lunar soil and rock collected, totaling over 800 pounds. Therefore, the discovery of a substantial deposit of granite on the Moon raises intriguing questions about its origin and the processes that led to its presence there.
The origin of the Moon has been a subject of various theories, with one proposing that a collision between a young Earth and a Mars-sized object resulted in the ejection of enough mass and matter to form the Moon. However, this explanation is still not considered definitive.
In the case of the Moon’s granite presence, plate tectonics, which play a crucial role in the formation of granite on Earth, are not believed to have been a factor. No evidence of plate tectonics has been found on the Moon. Nevertheless, indications of ancient volcanoes and magma activity have been identified on the lunar surface. The dark spots visible on the Moon, including those that contribute to its distinctive “face,” are thought to have formed from the pooling and flow of magma.
Recent research on this discovery, published in the scientific journal Nature, reveals that the cache of granite on the Moon spans approximately 30 miles in width. NASA has plans to investigate this area in 2026 utilizing an advanced lunar rover. It is also likely that it will serve as a targeted research site for future Artemis missions to the Moon’s surface.