Home Science Space Tranquillityite moon rock found on Earth

The Apollo Moon landings brought back rocks that contained armalcolite, pyroxferroite, and tranquillityite. These three minerals had never before been found naturally on Earth - only on the Moon. Further investigation found the first two on Earth. Now, it has been announced that the third one (tranquillityite) has been found in Australia.

Tranquillityite [Fe2+8(ZrY)2Ti3Si3O24] was named after Tranquility Base, the site of the first Moon landing by the NASA Apollo 11 lunar lander Eagle at the Sea of Tranquility.

Australian paleontologist Birger Rasmussen (Curtin University in Perth, Australia) and colleagues have discovered natural samples in six sites in Western Australia.

Rasmussen's finds were described in the January 2012 paper 'Tranquillityite: The last lunar mineral comes down to Earth' (doi:10.1130/G32525.1), which appears in the January 2012 issue within the journal Geology (and was first published in November 23, 2011).

The authors of the paper are Rasmussen, along with Ian R. Fletcher, Courtney J. Gregory, Janet R. Muhling, and Alexandra A. Suvorova.

The authors state in their paper: 'We have now identified tranquillityite in six dolerite dikes and sills from Western Australia.'

Investigations of the mineral, ''¦ suggests that tranquillityite is a relatively widespread, albeit volumetrically minor, accessory mineral '¦.'

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William Atkins

William Atkins completed educational degrees in science (bachelor’s in physics and mathematics) from Illinois State University (Normal, United States) and business (master’s in entrepreneurship and bachelor’s in industrial relations) from Western Illinois University