two new minerals observed on a piece of meteorite

Minerals had never been seen in nature before this scientific discovery.

A team of Canadian researchers has claimed to have discovered two new minerals – and potentially a third – after studying a piece of meteorite that crashed in East Africa, reports Guardian.

The meteorite, which is no less than the ninth largest ever recorded on Earth, is two meters wide and was unearthed in Somalia in 2020. A piece of about 70 grams, which is mainly made of iron, was extracted and sent to the University of Alberta.

It was during the classification of the stone that Professor Chris Herd of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences noticed “unusual” minerals. He then asked the head of the laboratory department at the university to study the meteorite piece.

“From the first day of analysis, he told me we had at least two new minerals in there,” Chris Herd testified Guardian.

“It was phenomenal. Most of the time it takes a lot more work and research to say there’s a new mineral.”

Elalite and Elkinstantonite

Minerals similar to those discovered were created synthetically in a laboratory in the 1980s, but have never been recorded as occurring in nature. “I could never have imagined that one day I would be involved in the description of new minerals just by studying on a piece of meteorite”, confided Chris Herd again.

The two minerals were named elaliite and elkistantonite, in reference to the place where they were found (El Ali in Somalia) and to Lindy Elkins-Tanton, a NASA scientist working on the metal-rich asteroid exploration project: (16 ) Psyche.

“She did a lot of work on the formation of the cores of the planets, the cores of iron and nickel, and the closest element we have is iron meteorites, so it made sense to name a mineral after her,” reasoned Chris Herd.

Researchers at the University of Alberta therefore want to study other samples of the meteorite, but it is now untraceable and could have been bought and then transported to China.

Hugues Garnier BFMTV journalist

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