Researchers discovered a Swedish meteorite that is entirely different from the hundred others found in the same quarry.
The team analyzed the composition of the Swedish meteorite and what they found took them by surprise. The object may help scientists to understand astronomical perturbations that affected Earth and the solar system.
The meteorite has a diameter of a couple of inches only. It was discovered on an ancient seafloor. It seems that crashed in the red limestone, as it left a reduction halo that is colored in gray.
The meteorite was found by workers in a quarry from the southern Sweden. The men noticed the black dots on the rocks and sent them to be investigated.
Scientists discovered that the dots were, in fact, meteorites that crashed into the ancient seafloor. Millions of years before humans started to exploit the quarry in search for construction materials; the rocky surface was the place of a vast sea.
The Quarry of Meteorites
Since the first discovery, the workers found more than 100 meteorites.
The common type of meteorite in the quarry is called ‘ordinary chondrite.’ They represent 85% of the meteorites found on Earth, and all of them were part of the same asteroid that broke into small pieces after the collision.
As the energy of the explosion was far greater than it would have been expected, scientists believe that the meteorite was hit by a smaller body and the collision resulted in multiple smaller meteorites.
For years, scientists verified each rock to find the second type of meteorite that participated in the crash, but with no results. The researchers started to lose the interest in the hundreds of rocks with the same parent meteorite pieces. As the research became routine, the analysis began to be conducted by students.
The One Amazing Swedish Meteorite
In 2011, a student discovered that one of the rocks sent from the quarry was completely different from all the others. It was so different that scientists needed five years to reveal its secret.
The ordinary chondrites have a combination of oxygen isotopes and chromium. However, the new meteorite has a composition entirely different from all known meteorites.
The Swedish meteorite has the same level of cosmic ray exposure as all the other meteorites found in the quarry, which makes scientists conclude that it was part of the same initial collision.
The combination of chromium and oxygen isotopes in Österplana 065, the new meteorite, is unique and could not be matched to any other known type of meteorites.
The discovery is important because all models on solar system formation are based on meteorite analysis. The assumption so far was that the material that dominated the solar system was composed of chromium and oxygen isotopes, just like the ordinary meteorites have shown.
However, the discovery of a new combination of chemicals may lead to the conclusion that there were other types of chemicals just as common.
Scientists believe that the small meteorite trace left in the rock may be the only proof left of the original body that was destroyed in the collision that happened more than 500 million years ago.
Image Source: Wikipedia