Scientists discover two new minerals in a meteorite that fell to Earth |

A massive meteorite that crashed into Earth contains two minerals previously unknown to the planet. When researchers from the University of Alberta analyzed a 70-gram sample of the 15-tonne rock, they found both minerals. They believe this meteorite is the ninth largest ever to hit the planet.

Every time a new mineral is found, it means that the actual geological conditions, the chemistry of the rock, were different from what was found before.Chris Herd, a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, said in a press release. That’s what makes this discovery exciting: In this particular meteorite, you have two officially described minerals that are new to science. »

Scientists have named the new minerals elaliite and elk instantonite. ” Elaliite refers to the region where the meteorite was found: the El Ali district of Somalia. ” Elk instantonite is named after NASA expert Lindy Elkins-Tanton.

Lindy has done a lot of work on how planetary cores form, how these iron-nickel cores form, and the closest analog we have is iron meteorites. So it made sense to give a mineral its name and recognize its contribution to science.“. Chris Herd said.

Both minerals were identified by Andrew Locock, head of the electron microprobe laboratory at the University of Alberta, because each had been synthesized before. ” These minerals were synthesized in the laboratory by a group in France in the 1980s, so they were known to science in this respect“, Herd told Global News, ” but we cannot talk about a new mineral until we find it in nature“.

The stone was found in Somalia two years ago and locals say it is much older. They nicknamed her ” Night falls and has featured her in poems and songs for more than five generations. The researchers also found a third mineral in the rock, which has not yet been identified. Chris Herd believes that even more minerals can be discovered if the researchers manage to get more samples,” but the meteorite appears to have moved to China. »

The rock itself has rested for at least several generations in the region of Somalia where it was found“, Chris Herd told Global News. ” It was known to camel herders as a place to stop and sharpen their tools. It’s been removed from the site and actually removed from the land now, which is a bit unfortunate… It’s a gigantic rock that has potential cultural significance. »

The meteorite can also reveal clues to how asteroids are formed, says the university in a press release. ” It is intriguing that the meteorite that makes up elaliite, the group to which it belongs, may not originate from the core of an asteroid, but rather from a kind of gigantic pool of primordial molten metal near the surface of an asteroid.said Chris Herd. When a new material is known, materials scientists are also interested in it because of its potential applications in a wide range of areas of society.“, he added.

The largest meteorite ever discovered on Earth was found in Hoba, Namibia in 1920. It weighs 60 tons. The space rock left no craters when it crashed into the planet (less than 80,000 years ago, scientists say) and was accidentally discovered by a local farmer while he was plowing his fields. Today, this stone is on display in a visitor center.

The largest meteorite found in the United States is the Willamette meteorite, which was discovered in Oregon in 1902. It weighs 14 tons. It also left no crater, and scientists believe it may have landed in Canada and drifted south. Today it is at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where it has been seen by 40 million people.

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