News JVTech Two new minerals from space have landed on Earth!
Published on 04/12/2022 at 15:15
A team of Canadian researchers claims to have identified two new minerals following the study of a meteorite that crashed on Earth. A discovery described as “phenomenal” which has not finished making people talk about it.
Meteorites fall very regularly on the Earth and, sometimes, they reseal unsuspected treasures. A team of Canadian researchers was able to observe this very recently, by studying a shard from a meteorite that fell in East Africa in 2020.
The meteorite in question is what can be described as a “big piece”, since‘it weighs 15 tonnes in total, and is 2 meters wide. It is the ninth largest meteorite ever recorded to have fallen on our planet. She was unearthed in Somalia two years agoand it took a small piece of 70 grams for scientists to make a discovery described as “phenomenal”.
“At least” two new minerals identified
Nicknamed “El Ali” by scientists, in reference to the name of the city next to which it fell, thea meteorite is essential composed of iron. But researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, brought to light something else.
Dr. Chris Herd, a professor in the department of earth and atmospheric sciences and curator of the university’s collection, was given the task of classifying the rock. During a routine examination, he noted the presence of “unusual” minerals. He enlisted the help of a colleague, Andrew Locock, the head of the university’s electron microprobe laboratory.
This one was quick to return with amazing news “There are, at least, two new minerals in there,” he announced. “It was phenomenal. Most of the time, it takes a lot more work than that to detect a new mineral,” summarizes Chris Herd.
A discovery that could be very useful, but…
The two minerals, baptized Elaliite that Elkinstantonite, are similar to minerals created synthetically in the laboratory in the 1980s. However, they had never before been found “in nature”. “Never could I have imagined that I would one day be involved in describing new minerals by simply studying on a piece of meteorite,” Dr Herd told the Guardian. And the discoveries might not stop theresince a third mineral, also potentially new, is currently being analyzed.
Extensive studies are underway to learn more about these minerals, and to determine if they might be useful for specific uses. Canadian researchers would like to be able to recover other samples to carry out additional work. The problem is thatit is currently difficult to determine where the rest of the meteorite is : it could have been bought by a company and transported to China to be cut there, then sold on international markets. It is often fate that awaits these stars when they come crashing down on Earth…