How It Works

Moonquakes

On the Apollo missions to the Moon, seismometres were used to measure the tremors felt on the celestial body. But what exactly are moonquakes?

Like Earth, the Moon is seismically active and has four different type of quake:

1. Deep moonquakes
2. meteorite vibrations
3. Thermal Quakes
4. Shallow moonquakes

And potentially many more we haven’t discovered yet!

These quakes can measure up to 5.5 on the richter scale and can go on for as long as ten minutes, which is significantly longer than than earthquakes. Another difference to earthquakes is that the Moon doesn’t have plate tectonics like Earth does. Therefore, moonquakes are linked to extreme temperature changes and the Earth’s gravitational pull.

The Moon, often described as a silent and desolate place, is actually alive with quakes. If we do ever colonise our nearest neighbour, we will most definitely have to take these seismic shifts into account.

Buzz Aldrin fetching the seismometre from the Apollo 11 landing craft...
Buzz Aldrin fetching the seismometre from the landing craft…
...and setting it up
…and setting it up