Scientists discover a new mineral buried inside meteorite

Credit: Justin McManus.

Scientists have discovered a new mineral buried inside the Wedderburn meteorite, forged in the core of a planet that no longer exists.

The Wedderburn meteorite, found just north-east of the remote Australian gold rush town in 1951, was a small 210-gram chunk of strange-looking space rock that fell out of the sky.

For decades, scientists have been trying to decipher its secrets, and researchers just decoded another.

In a new study led by Caltech mineralogist Chi Ma, scientists analyzed the Wedderburn meteorite and verified the first natural occurrence of what they call edscottite: a rare form of iron-carbide mineral that’s never been found in nature.

The edscottite discovery – named in honour of meteorite expert and cosmochemist Edward Scott of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) – is significant because never before have we confirmed that this distinct atomic formulation of iron carbide mineral occurs naturally.

They believe the mineral was likely forged in the molten core of an ancient planet long since destroyed.

Written by Brooks Bays.