Meteorite Reveals its Secret Nearly 70 Years After its Discovery in Australia

For decades, scientists have tried to uncover its secret. In vain. The size of a lemon, this pebble fallen from the sky with red and black reflections, weighing some 210 grams, was spotted in 1951 in Australia in the north of Weddenburn, a small isolated town that was at the time one hot spots of the Great Australian Gold Rush.

Except that no such nugget had been seen before in the region.

And for good reason, the piece of metal in question probably comes from the molten core of an old planet that would have disappeared a long time ago.

Using state-of-the-art technology, which was not available at the time of its discovery, a team from California’s California Institute of Technology (Caltech) identified a mineral that had never been encountered in the wild. until now.

Their research was published in the scientific journal American Mineralogist.

The unknown ore found inside the object was named “edscottite“, named after the discoverer of the object, the cosmologist Edward Scott. To understand correctly, an ore is an assemblage of atoms of various forms.

It is distinguished by its internal structure: diamond, for example, is a combination of carbon atoms, just like the graphite that makes up the lead of your pencil.

Inside the Weddenburn meteorite, compressed between several layers of minerals, scientists discovered a thin ribbon of the material in question. In the microscope, it looks like tiny white crystals.

They are composed of iron and carbon atoms, united to each other in a certain pattern during a crystallization process – that is, when the metal goes from melting to the solid state.

Edscottite has already been seen on Earth, but only inside the metal foundries. Now, for minerals to have a name, we must be able to find them in a natural state.

This was the case for the previous analyzes carried out on our meteorite, which revealed the presence of gold and iron, as well as rarer minerals such as “kamacite”, “schreibersite”, “taenite” or the “troilite”.

Now another question arises: what happened to the planet from which this meteorite originates? When a planet dies, it begins to melt from within. Hot metal began to flow into the bowels of the star. Then, under the effect of the heat of the pressure, minerals, like the edscottite, were formed while the object was cooling.

The history of this planet has probably ended in a gigantic collision with another planet or an asteroid.

The remains of the star would then have been scattered in the Solar System, a large part being found between Mars and Jupiter, in what is called the Asteroid Belt.

The Wedderburn meteorite probably stayed here for several million years before a chance collision with another object catapulted it to our planet.


Source: ICI


  1. i think i have some!

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