Additionally, "Establishing a new network of seismometers on the lunar surface should be a priority for human exploration of the Moon, both to learn more about the Moon's interior and to determine how much of a hazard moonquakes present", said co-author Renee Weber, a planetary seismologist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
These moonquakes likely happen because the moon is quivering as it shrinks, researchers added.
A team of scientists examined data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and compared it to the location of tremors recorded during the Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s, Newsweek reported. "That always leads you to the intriguing possibility that maybe these things are still active, and maybe these faults are showing us current tectonic activity on the moon", Watters said.
A 2010 analysis of imagery from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) found that the moon shriveled like a raisin as its interior cooled, leaving behind thousands of cliffs called thrust faults on the moon's surface. Researchers suggested these faults were evidence of lunar tectonics, although it was unclear how recent this activity was.
Unlike the flexible skin of a grape as it shrinks into a raisin, the Moon's crust is brittle and prone to crusting and breaking when pressure is put on it.
NASA say these scarps are like a "stair-step in the lunar landscape formed when the near-surface crust is pushed together, breaks, and is thrust upward along a fault as the Moon contracts".
Earth and the moon might be similar in the geological department: A new study suggests that the moon is shrinking and has active faults responsible for moonquakes on the lunar surface.
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As a result, researchers were able to "tentatively attribute" the recorded quakes to the faults.
Watters said some of the quakes "can be fairly strong" - as high as a 5 on the Richter scale.
One of the thrust faults discovered by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The research paper, "Shallow seismic activity and young thrust faults on the Moon", Thomas Watters, Renee Weber, Geoffrey Collins, Ian Howley, Nicholas Schmerr and Catherine Johnson, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on May 13, 2019.
US astronauts placed seismometers on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 missions, recording 28 shallow quakes up to nearly 5 magnitude, which is moderate strength. Seven quakes within about 37 miles (60 km) of these faults happened when the moon was at the farthest point in its orbit from Earth and certain parts of the moon are experiencing the greatest amount of stress from Earth's gravitational pull. These tracks are evidence of a recent quake because they should be erased relatively quickly, in geologic time scales, by the constant rain of micrometeoroid impacts on the Moon.
"Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars", Trump tweeted late on Monday. "We learned a lot from the Apollo missions, but they really only scratched the surface. This provides some very promising low-hanging fruit for science on a future mission to the moon".