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Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences


passed away in September 2017 at age 79.

According to Broadley, “Taylor was instrumental in supplying samples of mantle xenoliths, rock sections of the lithosphere (a section of the planet located between the crust and the mantle) that get captured by the passing magma and erupted to the surface during the volcanic explosion. Taylor also provided advice throughout the study.”

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Graphic illustrating the moon's layers of crust and the magma moon from which the moon as we know it was formed. Source: The University of Texas at Austin/Jackson School of Geosciences

The Earth’s Moon had a rough start in life. Formed from a chunk of the Earth that was lopped off during a planetary collision, it spent its early years covered by a roiling global ocean of molten magma before cooling and forming the serene surface we know today.

research team, led by Nick Dygert, assistant professor in the UT Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, took to the lab to recreate the magmatic melt that once formed the lunar surface and uncovered new insights on how the modern moonscape came to be. Their study shows that the Moon’s crust initially formed from rock floating to the surface of the magma ocean and cooling. However, the team also found that one of the great mysteries of the lunar body’s formation – how it could develop a crust composed of just one mineral – cannot be explained by the initial crust formation and must have been the result of some secondary event.

The results were published on Nov. 21 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Read more at tntoday.utk.edu.

 


erin.chapin@utk.edu).

Suzanne Lenhart, professor of mathematics, was honored with the 2017 SEC Faculty Achievement Award, the SEC announced this week.  Lenhart is a passionate advocate for women and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields. The SEC award recognizes professors from the 14 Southeastern Conference schools who have outstanding records in teaching and scholarship.

UT, sophomore Blaine Ziegler and freshman Emma Sopcak were awarded $5,000 scholarships from the Today show and PurePoint Financial as part of the Rokerthon 3, weatherman Al Roker’s journey to five universities across the US to set world records.

UT researcher Devon Burr, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, co-authored a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience describing the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Turns out that the grains covering the surface act like clingy packing peanuts—they become electrically charged and cause particles to stick to them.