A 15-ton meteorite that landed in Somalia revealed to a team of researchers two minerals that had never been observed in nature before. The meteorite is the ninth largest ever found.
“Every time you find a new mineral it means that the geological conditions and chemistry of the rock are different from what has been observed previously.” said Chris Herd, a professor at the University of Alberta. “It’s what makes the discovery so exciting: In this particular meteorite, we have two officially described minerals that are new to science.“
These are not the mineral common in meteorites, recently found on Earth, but minerals that we did not have never seen before, except in the laboratory.
These were derived from a single piece of 70 grams which had been brought to the University for classification, and scientists may already have identified a third new ore. Should the researchers obtain more samples, there is a chance that other minerals will be found as well.
The minerals recovered were named elaliite and elkinstantonite. The first received its name from the meteorite itself, called “El Ali” in honor of the homonymous city in Somalia where it was found.
Professor Chris Herd and his colleagues have succeeded in identify new minerals in record time. This is because the minerals had been created synthetically before and were therefore able to match the newly found compositions with their artificially developed counterparts.
Research will continue to determine the conditions that led to the formation of the meteorite. Herd also notes that the discovery could lead to gods interesting new uses in the futurethough the fate of the meteorite remains uncertain; researchers have in fact received the news that it may have recently been moved to China, in search of potential buyers.
Staying on the subject, did you know that a rare mineral from Mars has been found in Antarctica?
[University of Alberta]