Scientists Discovered Today's Rare Meteorites Were Once Common

Posted: Jan 26 2017, 4:55am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Scientists Discovered Today's Rare Meteorites Were Once Common
This is an electron microscope image of a polished cross section of chrome spinel from a fossil micrometeorite that scientists believe comes from the asteroid 4 Vesta. Credit: Philipp Heck, The Field Museum

Scientists Reveal Rare Meteorites that Used to be Common

A huge blast in the outer space occurred 460 million years ago. The blast was a result of collision of asteroid with an unknown object, breaking the asteroid into small chunks, named meteorites.

These meteorites also entered the earth at the time when dinosaurs existed. Scientists had a question that what kinds of meteorites were making their way to Earth before that collision?

Scientists researched to get the answer of this question, and published the study in Nature Astronomy. They found that today’s meteorites are rare, but they were common before the incident of collision.

The meteorites that fell to earth millions of years before were different from the meteorites of today, said paper's lead author, Philipp Heck of The Field Museum in Chicago. It’s difficult to find the type of ancient meteorites, as its juts like we expect snow in summer, like it happens in winter.

Meteorites are rock pieces formed from debris by collision of asteroids, moons or any other planets. Meteorites have different types depending on their composition. After finding the type of rare meteorites, the scientists can understand the nature of objects in the solar system.

Scientists yet don’t know much about meteorites’ flux to earth that happened in the history.Conventionally, they think that the solar system was very stable 500 million years ago, and its strange that meteorites of 467 million years ago were different from the current meteorites, said coauthor Birger Schmitz of Sweden's Lund University.

The research team collected samples of rock from Russians ancient seafloor that has micrometeorites, and put them in acid to get dissolved, leaving only chromite crystals. These crystals were still the same after millions of years, said Heck. Scientists used these crystals to study their parent body that created micrometeorites.

After analyzing the spinels, the scientists found that ancient meteorites and today’s micrometeorites are different. Scientists will continue their study to understand different meteorites to know more about solar system and its asteroids.

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