Wednesday, June 27, 2012

1969 meteorite yields material previously unknown to science

[Christian Science Monitor] Scientists have discovered a new mineral embedded in a meteorite that fell to Earth over 40 years ago, and it could be among the oldest minerals, formed in the early days of our solar system. The mineral is a type of titanium oxide and has been named panguite, after Pan Gu, the giant from ancient Chinese mythology who established the world by separating yin from yang to create the Earth and the sky.
“Panguite is an especially exciting discovery since it is not only a new mineral, but also a material previously unknown to science,” says Chi Ma, from Caltech and author of a new paper detailing the discovery.
The Allende meteorite arrived at Earth in 1969 as an exploding fireball in the skies over Mexico, scattering thousands of pieces of meteorites across the state of Chihuahua. The Allende meteorite is the largest carbonaceous chondrite—a diverse class of primitive meteorites—ever found on our planet and is considered by many the best-studied meteorite in history. Read More