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April 05, 2011

New Mineral Found in Meteorite

Scientists have discovered a new mineral, Wassonite, in a meteorite dated to 4.5 billion years ago, the beginning of Earth. The mineral was discovered in a meteorite found upon the return of the first Apollo lunar samples in 1969. It is thought to have originated between Mars and Jupiter.

Interestingly, added to the mineral list now exceeding 4,500, Wassonite is composed of only sulfur and titanium. What sets it apart is its unique crystal structure that had yet to be observed. Wassonite is less than one-hundredth the width of a human hair, and "would have been impossible to discover without NASA's transmission electron microscope." Until recently, minerals like Wassonite were undetectable.

Using data taken from analyzing Wassonite, scientists are able to learn even more about the Earth's origin and the events occurring at that time.


Posted by hartadam at April 5, 2011 04:33 PM


This is very interesting. With NASA's new technology, many more minerals could potentially be found. The only problem would be the means to find such new ones in space, but finding minerals from 4.5 billion years ago can definitely add to our current idea about Earth's origin.

Posted by: nelalam at April 5, 2011 11:15 PM

If the meteor is dated to around the time of the origin of Earth and NASA has just now been able to detect this kind of mineral, then maybe in the future, they will be able to detect this on Earth. Maybe more previously "undetectable" minerals like Wassonite will be discovered in meteorites and our own planets.

Posted by: saraogar at April 6, 2011 01:33 PM

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