Albertans discover two new minerals in a meteorite

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Des Albertans discover two new minerals in a meteorite

About 70 grams of the meteorite was sent to the University of Alberta.

University of Alberta researchers have discovered two new minerals inside a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite that they called elaliite and elkinstantonite. The space rock was found by prospectors in a lush valley in Somalia two years ago.

The meteorite is also said to have been a folk item for over five generations. It is found for example in dances, songs or poems of the community near the places of its discovery, can we read in an analysis of the Meteoritical Society (in English).

About 70 grams of the meteorite were sent to the Faculty of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta for study.

When I was looking at slides [of the meteorite] on an electron microscope, during the classification process, I observed several minerals that I was not able to identify, points out the curator of the University's meteorite collection and Professor Chris Herd.

The El Ali meteorite was discovered buried in sand in Somalia. Three new minerals have been discovered in fragments of the meteorite.

The unknown crystal structure in the meteorite had already been synthesized in France in the 1980s. #x27;a crystal structure can be classified as an ore. The two new minerals were called elaliite and elkinstantonite.

Elaliite owes its name to the original meteorite, called Eli Ali, because of the small town located near the places of its discovery. Chris Herd called the second mineral elkinstantonite, in honor of the work on the formation of planetary interiors by scientist Lindy Elkins-Tanton.

Research on the meteorite was undertaken in collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the California Institute of Technology (CalTech). The third ore discovered was called olsenite. This meteorite would be the ninth in volume ever discovered.

Kim Tait, curator of mineralogy at the Royal Ontario Museum, indicates that it is rarer to unearth new minerals at the interior of meteorites. She also believes that the El Ali meteorite would be useful in understanding the formation of space objects. Iron meteorites, like this one, come especially from the interiors of planets that no longer exist.

We obviously don't have much chance no chance of sampling the heart of our own planet, she said.

The Somali government reportedly confiscated the meteorite before handing it over to miners. Chris Herd says it was exported to China, where it is expected to be sold. Chris Herd is also working with a chemistry lab to learn more about these new minerals.

With information from Stephen Cook

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