Minerals were not found in nature before this scientific discovery.
A team of Canadian researchers say they have discovered two new minerals — and a third — after examining a portion of a meteorite that crashed in East Africa. Guardian.
The ninth largest meteorite ever recorded on Earth, it is two meters wide and was unearthed in Somalia in 2020. About 70 grams of piece was extracted from it, mainly made of iron, and it was sent. University of Alberta.
Professor Chris Herd of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences noticed the “unusual” minerals while classifying the rock. He then asked the head of the university’s laboratory department to examine the meteorite fragment.
“From the first day of analysis, he told me we had at least two new minerals,” Chris Herd testified. Guardian.
“It was unique. Most of the time it takes a lot of work and research to identify a new mineral.”
Elalite and Elkinstonite
Minerals similar to those discovered were created synthetically in a laboratory in the 1980s, but have not been recorded as occurring in nature. “I never would have imagined that one day I would be involved in the interpretation of new minerals by studying a fragment of a meteorite,” repeated Chris Herd.
The two minerals were named elalite and elchistantonite, after the location of their discovery (El Ali in Somalia) and by NASA researcher Lindy Elkins-Tandon, who is working on a project to study the metal-rich asteroid: (16) Psyche .
“She did a lot of work on planetary cores, iron and nickel cores, and the closest elemental iron we have, meteorites, so it made sense to name a mineral after her,” reasoned Chris Herd.
So researchers at the University of Alberta want to study other samples of the meteorite, but it is now untraceable and may have been bought and then transported to China.