Feeds

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

Used to be all fields round here. Of space rocks

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.