A meteorite found years ago turns out to be a rock with a strange story: it’s not the first of its kind on Earth.
Leon – Meteorites are rocks that made it from space through the Earth’s atmosphere to Earth and were found there. Each of these meteorites is unique. Some have been identified and can be traced back to Mars or the Moon, for example. Others are fragments of asteroids emerging from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Most of these celestial bodies date back to the early days of the solar system, about 4.5 billion years ago.
named meteorite Northwest Africa 13188 (NWA 13188) She is a very special specimen: this 646-gram meteorite was discovered in Morocco in 2018. Based on its composition, experts assume that it is of terrestrial origin and possibly has a volcanic past. A research team led by Jérôme Gacheca of the French research center CNRS has now made an interesting discovery that makes this meteorite very special: it appears to be the first meteorite originating from Earth.
Like a boomerang: a meteor actually comes from Earth
At the Goldschmidt Conference in Lyon, the research team presented the new discovery: the unveiling of the first land-based meteorite. The presentation was accompanied by a AbstractsWritten by the research team. In it, the team wrote, “The presence of an advanced fusion crust strongly indicates that NWA 13188 is indeed a meteorite.”
In addition to the usual fusion crust that forms when a rock falls through the Earth’s atmosphere and begins to glow, the researchers made another revealing discovery: there are high concentrations of beryllium-10, helium-3 and neon-21 isotopes in the rock, which can only be explained by their roughly 10,000-year stay in space. According to the researchers “It is impossible for NWA 13188 to be a ‘fake’ artificial meteorite.”
How did the Boomerang meteorite reach space and return to Earth?
How the meteorite bounced from Earth into space and later returned to Earth is still a mystery. It is believed that the stone may have been flung from Earth into space by the impact of a celestial body. An alternative theory is that it was thrown from Earth into space by a volcanic eruption.
Subscribe to the free space newsletter and stay informed.
Whatever the process that launched the stone into space and returned it to Earth as meteorites, the French research team plans to study the first terrestrial meteorite in more detail to reveal its history, timing and conditions.
The researchers also made a surprising discovery in another meteorite: they found two new minerals. (unpaid bill)
Machine assistance was used in this editorial article. The article was carefully screened by editor Tanya Banner before it was published
“Subtly charming coffee scholar. General zombie junkie. Introvert. Alcohol nerd. Travel lover. Twitter specialist. Freelance student.”