Feeds

Exotic proto-mineral 'panguite' from before the planets found in meteor

Used to be all fields round here. Of space rocks

The next step in data security

Boffins have discovered a primitive mineral in an ancient meteorite that pre-dates the formation of planets.

The Allende meteorite's fireball tore through the atmosphere over Mexico in 1969, exploding thousands of pieces of itself across the state of Chihuahua, but it's just recently that Caltech scientists found a new mineral they think could be one of the oldest in the solar system.

The mineral, a titanium oxide, has been named panguite after the mythical Chinese giant Pan Gu who created the world by separating yin from yang with an axe, making the earth and the sky in the process.

Allende is the largest carbonaceous chondrite meteorite ever found on our planet and eight other new minerals have also been found in the space rock in an ongoing nanomineralogy study.

"The intensive studies of objects in this meteorite have had a tremendous influence on current thinking about processes, timing, and chemistry in the primitive solar nebula and small planetary bodies," said George Rossman, professor of mineralogy at Caltech and co-author of the study.

Inclusions are the minerals that get trapped inside meteorites as they are forming. U ultra-refractory type includes minerals that can resist high temperatures and other conditions in extreme environments, such as those thought to exist as our solar system was forming.

Panguite was first seen in an "ultra-refractory inclusion" – one of the first solid objects in our solar system – embedded in the meteorite. Inclusions are the minerals trapped inside meteorites, while ultra-refractory refers to minerals that can only have formed under the extreme temperatures and conditions present in the first stages of the solar system.

Because the mineral pre-dates the formation of the Earth and other planets, it can tell boffins more about how they were made.

The study will be published in the July issue of the journal American Mineralogist. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.