A cropped photograph of the Artemis I close-p view of the Moon. NASA.

Anomaly points to ancient volcanic activity on the far side of the Moon

Beneath the Moon's barren crust, lies an immense structure.


There is an anomaly on the Moon, and it can tell us a lot about our satellite’s past. Digging deep into the lunar surface, scientists have unveiled a granite formation potentially dating back to a fiery volcanic past some 3.5 billion years ago. Beneath the Moon’s barren crust, lies an immense granite structure, unveiled through the relentless efforts of a scientific team. Led by SMU research professor Matthew Siegler, the team’s published study in Nature reveals an insight into the lunar past.

Moon Anomaly

The team identified heat sources beneath the Compton-Belkovich lunar region, attributable to a radioactive element concentration found only in lunar granite. This discovery suggests a hidden volcanic history.

Granite, an igneous rock often found beneath extinct volcanoes, hints at a prehistoric volcanic system feeding the Moon’s surface. On Earth, these formations are known as batholiths, and they are typically larger than the volcanoes they supply.

An Earthly Comparison

“Similar to the large volcanic system feeding the Cascade volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest today, any substantial granite body on Earth implies an extinct volcano system,” Siegler explains, citing the Sierra Nevada mountains as an example of an Earthly batholith.


In an area known as a volcanic complex, the lunar batholith’s staggering 50-kilometer diameter has left researchers awestruck.

The Rarity of Lunar Granite

Granite is a common sight on Earth, its formation facilitated by water and plate tectonics. However, granite is a rare find on the Moon, where these processes are absent.

The discovery of this granite body enlightens us about the Moon’s early crust formation. “Without water, it’s extraordinarily challenging to form granite,” Siegler notes, speculating on whether there was water on the Moon or if it was particularly hot in the past.

The Research Team

The research group comprised esteemed scientists from various institutions, including the Planetary Science Institute, SMU, Southwest Research Institute, Million Concepts, Brown University, and Stony Brook University.


NASA’s Lunar Data Analysis Program and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Diviner Lunar Radiometer supported this work. Data from Chinese lunar orbiters, Chang’E-1 and Chang’E-2, was instrumental in the study. Siegler is set to present these exciting findings at the forthcoming Goldschmidt Conference in Lyon, France, from July 9-14.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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