A team of Japanese scientists led by Masahiro Kayama of Tohoku University’s Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, has discovered a mineral known as moganite in a lunar meteorite found in a hot desert in northwest Africa.
his is significant because moganite is a mineral that requires water to form, reinforcing the belief that water exists on the Moon.
“Moganite is a crystal of silicon dioxide and is similar to quartz. It forms on Earth as a precipitate when alkaline water including SiO2 is evaporated under high pressure conditions,” says Kayama. “The existence of moganite strongly implies that there is water activity on the Moon.”
Kayama and his team analyzed 13 of the lunar meteorites using sophisticated methods to determine chemical compositions and structures of their minerals. These included electron microscopy for high-magnification, and micro-Raman spectroscopy to determine the structure of the minerals based on their atomic vibration.