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Space & Astronomy

Two never-before-seen 'alien' minerals found inside a meteorite

By T.K. Randall
November 29, 2022 · Comment icon 9 comments

The minerals were found inside a small slice of the meteorite. Image Credit: University of Alberta
A 17-ton meteorite that landed in Somalia has been found to contain two minerals never seen on Earth before.
It's perhaps hard to imagine that there exist minerals in the universe that are not found natively on Earth, but this fact was brought into sharp focus recently when scientists sliced up a very large meteorite and found two minerals inside that are not found on our planet at all.

The huge space rock, which weighs a whopping 17 tons, fell to Earth in El Ali, Somalia in 2020.

The two new minerals were discovered inside a 2.5-ounce slice removed from the main meteorite.

Scientists have since named them elaliite (after the meteorite itself) and elkinstantonite (after Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the managing director of the Arizona State University Interplanetary Initiative).
The find is significant because it could help to teach us more about the formation of the solar system.

"Whenever you find a new mineral, it means that the actual geological conditions, the chemistry of the rock, was different than what's been found before," said the University of Alberta's Chris Herd.

"That's what makes this exciting: In this particular meteorite you have two officially described minerals that are new to science."

Work on studying the new minerals remains ongoing.

Source: Live Science | Comments (9)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by jethrofloyd 2 years ago
They might find the Superman's a green, crystalline mineral Kryptonite.
Comment icon #2 Posted by and-then 2 years ago
15 tons?  I had no idea they could survive at that size.
Comment icon #3 Posted by quiXilver 2 years ago
I've got a reliable source...
Comment icon #4 Posted by the13bats 2 years ago
Comment icon #5 Posted by Myles 2 years ago
Am I the only one that found this line odd?  Maybe it is just me, but I would expect there to be minerals in the universe that are not found natively on Earth. "It's perhaps hard to imagine that there exist minerals in the universe that are not found natively on Earth"
Comment icon #6 Posted by Jon the frog 2 years ago
The rock didn't fell in 2020, it was identified in 2020. It was a known rock for ages. https://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/metbull.php?code=74444  
Comment icon #7 Posted by Robotic Jew 2 years ago
I thought the same thing when I read it. Given the size differences of the 2 at the least you'd think it would be more likely for stuff to exist we've never seen before. But I'm not a scientist so maybe I'm missing some information about possible known combinations of crap or something. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by joc 2 years ago
15 tons and what do you get?  Two new minerals and deeper in debt.
Comment icon #9 Posted by and-then 2 years ago
I did a bit of digging to see just how big these things can be.  I'd have thought one of this size would have created a tremendous impact crater and or damage as it came to earth.  Seems there are several that were larger. https://www.sciencealert.com/these-are-the-6-biggest-meteorites-to-ever-to-be-found-on-earth


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