Feeds

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

Used to be all fields round here. Of space rocks

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.