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Two brand new minerals have been discovered inside a single 70 gram piece taken from the 16.5 ton El Ali meteorite found in 2020. The scientists named the minerals elalite after the meteor and elkinstantonite.
“Here's what's surprising: There are two described minerals in this particular meteorite that are new to science”,– says Chris Hurd, professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta.
While examining a fragment of a meteorite, scientists' attention was drawn to new minerals. By comparing them to versions previously synthesized in the lab, the researchers identified them as newly discovered in nature. Minerals may provide clues to how asteroids form. The team is also exploring the applications of minerals in materials science.
“I never thought I would be involved in describing completely new minerals just by working with a meteorite”, – Hurd says.
However, scientific research on the El Ali meteorite may be in jeopardy. At present, the meteorite has been transported to China in search of a potential buyer, which may limit the researchers' access to the space rock to study it.
As a result of the analysis of the debris of the meteorite that fell on Winchcombe last year, scientists have confirmed the theory that that the chemical components that contributed to the emergence of life on Earth were brought billions of years ago from space.
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