New mineral found in meteorite


New mineral found in meteorite

The wedderburn meteorite was found north-east of Wedderburn in 1951. This was a small 210 gram space rock that fell out of sky. Scientists have researched on it for decades. Due to these researches, now only one third of the original specimen remains intact.

Caltech mineralogist Chi Ma and his team of scientists made a new discovery. They analyzed the meteorite and verified the first natural occurrence of “Escottite”.

Escottite is a rare form of iron carbide mineral which is also one phase iron goes through when its cooling down from a high temperature when it’s smelted in to steel. This mineral was never found in nature before.

Escottite is named after Ed R.D. Scott, a cosmochemist at the University of Hawaii, and pioneering meteorite researcher. He first identified the unique iron carbide in 1971 while studying the meteorite. But the technology hadn’t advanced far enough for him to characterize its structure.

How it formed is still unclear. Geoffrey Bonning, a planetary scientist at the Australian National University, who was not involved in this research speculated to The Age that it was blasted out of the core of another planet.

The hypothetical planet, he said, formed when asteroids clumped into one big planet. The planet heated up during its formation, and hot metal dripped into its core.

“This meteorite had an abundance of carbon in it. And as it slowly cooled down, the iron and carbon came together and formed this mineral,” Mills said.

Eventually, another astronomical body may have collided with the planet, flinging the debris across solar system.

Chi Ma
The actual size

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