panguite

Meteorite Hunter Discovers New Mineral Older Than Earth!

Geologist Chi Ma has discovered nine new minerals within a meteorite that fell to Earth in 1969. Most people would count that as a pretty big check in the “win” column. But that wasn’t enough. Turns out that one of them, panguite, is older than Earth itself!

The mineral, whose chemical formula is (Ti4+,Sc,Al,Mg,Zr,Ca)1.8O3,  formed in the early days of our solar system. It contains common elements like oxygen, but zirconium? That’s a weird one. The name is in reference to the Chinese mythological giant Pangu, who split yin and yang with a huge axe to create Earth.

Remember that California meteorite from a couple months ago? I wonder what they’ll find in that one?

Previously: In the early days of Earth, these space missiles were a regular occurrence, and bombardments of meteors from the early Solar System made our Moon look like it does today.

(via Wired Science)

New mineral found in meteorite

A new mineral was found embedded in the Allende meteorite, which fell to Earth in 1969. Since 2007, geologist Chi Ma of Caltech has been probing the meteorite with a scanning electron microscope, discovering nine new materials including panguite. ‘Panguite’s primordial nature means that it was actually around before the Earth and other planets formed, meaning it can help scientists learn more about the conditions in the cloud of gas and dust that gave rise to our solar system.

Image: Chi Ma/Caltech