Strange Meteorite is Unlike any Other Found Before

The CAMECA NanoSIMS instrument at The University of Manchester

The CAMECA NanoSIMS instrument at The University of Manchester

Oldest-ever meteorite found in Africa... and could unlock the solar system's secrets, scientists say The oldest meteorite ever discovered could help researchers on their quest for truth: discovering how our solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago.

At this time, the Sun was surrounded by a spinning disk of debris and gas. Covered in crystals and nearly as big as a basketball, the meteorite is the oldest igneous meteorite ever discovered according to a recently published study.

11119 is the oldest igneous meteorite recorded. "Some of them look nearly like the crust of the Earth because they're so light colored and full of [silica]", Agee said. These not only survive but took place during one of the most premiere volcanic event to occur in the solar system. Agee was not sure if the rock was a meteorite so he approached Poorna Shrinivasan to inspect the object.

Using an electron microprobe and a CT (computed tomography), Srinivasan started noticing unusual details in NWA 11119 and concluded it is extraterrestrial in origin, judging from its oxygen isotopes. One of its most striking characteristics is that large silica crystals of tridymite - which are similar to quartz - comprise about 30 percent of the total meteorite. Srinivasan said that we did not accept that this rock was a meteorite at all.

The study provides the first "high-precision triple oxygen isotope analysis" of carbonaceous chondrite organics.

Co-author to the study of the rock, Daniel Dunlap from Arizona State University's Center for Meteorite Studies, said that it is hoped that the meteorite will shine a light on how the solar system originally formed.

Additional chemical analyses revealed that the meteorite closely resembled two other unusual meteorites - NWA 7235 and Almahata Sitta - suggesting that all three space rocks may have come from the same parent body, Srinivasan said.

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Overall, the composition of NWA 11119 is strikingly similar to the material that makes up Earth's crust, the outer layer of rock that forms a solid shell around the planet.

Researchers have identified a odd meteorite, different from all the meteorites previously studied. At 4.6 billion years old, NWA 11119 is the oldest igneous meteorite ever discovered.

A group of scientists from NASA studied the Moorish meteorite.

'Earth is a dynamic planet - processes such as plate tectonics and erosion have erased most of the early Earth records.

Most meteorites are formed through the collision of asteroids orbiting the sun in a region called the asteroid belt. Asteroids are the remains from the formation of the solar system formation some 4.6 billion years ago.

The chemical composition ranges of ancient igneous meteorites, or achondrites, are key to understanding the diversity and geochemical evolution of planetary building blocks. "We thought it was from Earth", Srinivasan told Live Science.

The NWA 11119 meteorite is about the size of a baseball and is estimated to be 4.6 billion years old.

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