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Science  12 Nov 1971:
Vol. 174, Issue 4010, pp. 687-692
DOI: 10.1126/science.174.4010.687


Although the average rate of seismic energy release within the moon appears to be far below that of the earth, over 100 events believed to be moonquakes have been recorded by the two seismic stations installed on the lunar surface during Apollo missions 12 and 14. With few exceptions, the moonquakes occur at monthly intervals near times of perigee and apogee and show correlations with the longer-term (7-month) lunar gravity variations. The repeating moonquakes are believed to occur at not less than 10 different locations. However, a single focal zone accounts for 80 percent of the total seismic energy detected. This active zone appears to be 600 kilometers south-southwest of the Apollo 12 and 14 sites and deep within the moon. Each focal zone must be small (less than 10 kilometers in linear dimension) and fixed in location over a 14-month period. Cumulative strain at each location is inferred. Thus, the moonquakes appear to be releasing internal strain of unknown origin, the release being triggered by tidal stresses.