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Orange Soil from the Moon


THE discovery of an orange-coloured soil on the Moon by the Apollo 17 astronauts last December led to much excitement and speculation. Dr Jack Schmitt, the geologist on the mission, realized that such yellow to orange coloration in rocks on Earth is usually due to hydrated iron oxides. In a volcanic region, these minerals are produced from water-rich vapours reacting with the lavas and emanating from gas-vents or “fumaroles” associated with the volcano.

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BROWN, G., HOLLAND, J. & PECKETT, A. Orange Soil from the Moon. Nature 242, 515–516 (1973).

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