4.6 billion-year-old meteorite found in horseshoe footprint - Livescience.com
Jul 21, 2021 1 min, 10 secs

The meteorite is a rare carbonaceous chondrite.

The meteorite was found in Gloucestershire in March by Derek Robson, a resident of Loughborough, England, and the director of astrochemistry at the East Anglian Astrophysical Research Organisation (EAARO).

The meteorite was sitting in the imprint of a horseshoe left behind in a field, according to Loughborough University.

The space rock is a carbonaceous chondrite, a rare category that makes up only 4% to 5% of meteorites that are found on Earth.

Rather, the meteorite has "been sitting out there, past Mars, untouched, since before any of the planets were created," Shaun Fowler, a microscopist at Loughborough University, said in a statement, "meaning we have the rare opportunity to examine a piece of our primordial past.".

The meteorite is mostly made of minerals such as olivine and phyllosilicates, Fowler said, as well as round grains called chondrules, which were partially molten beads incorporated into the asteroid when it first formed.

Researchers at Loughborough University and EAARO are using electron microscopy to study the surface of the meteorite down to the nanometer (a billionth of a meter), as well as techniques called vibrational spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, which allow them to delve into the chemical structure of the minerals in the meteorite.

"At this stage, we have learned a good deal about it, but we've barely scratched the surface," Sandie Dann, a chemist at Loughborough University, said in the statement.


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