Two Minerals Never Seen Before on Earth

Two Minerals Never Seen Before in the World
Two Minerals Never Seen Before in the World

Two minerals never before seen on Earth have been found in a large meteorite near Somalia. These minerals may contain important clues to the formation of asteroids. A 2020-ounce (16,5-gram) piece of the 15-ton (2,5-metric-ton) El Ali meteorite that hit Earth in 70 contained two new minerals.

Elkistantonite is named after Lindy Elkins-Tanton, executive director of the Arizona State University Interplanetary Initiative and principal investigator for NASA's upcoming Psyche mission. This mission will send a probe to search the mineral-rich asteroid Psyche for clues about how our solar system's planets formed. Elaliite gets its name from the meteor, and Elaliite from the mineral.

"Every time you find a new mineral, it shows that the actual geological conditions, namely the chemistry of the rock, are different from what has been found before," said Chris Herd, a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta. There are two new officially identified minerals in this meteorite, which makes it exciting.

El Ali was identified by researchers as the Iron IAB complex meteorite, a type of meteorite composed of meteoric iron and silicate particles. While examining the meteorite slice, scientists' attention was drawn to the properties of the new minerals. They quickly realized that the minerals were completely natural, comparing them to replicas made in the lab before.

Scientists want to learn more about meteorites to understand the conditions surrounding the formation of their parent asteroid. "I'm specializing in how to illuminate the geological processes and geological history of the asteroid of which this rock was once a part," Herd added. “I never imagined that I would be involved in identifying brand new minerals just by working on a meteorite.”

The group is also exploring the use of minerals in materials science.

But scientific discoveries from the El Ali meteorite may be in danger. As the meteorite is taken to China to find a potential buyer, researchers' access to study the space rock may be restricted.

source: livescience

Günceleme: 28/11/2022 23:27

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