Scientists discover new mineral that has never been found in nature before
The discovery of this mineral is crucial as it wasn’t known to mankind until now that this form of iron carbide mineral can occur in nature.
December 27, 2019 / 06:36 PM IST
Edscottite - The Wedderburn meteorite (Image: Museums Victoria)
A new mineral named Edscottite has become the cause of celebration in the scientific community. Found lying unnoticed by the road of an Australian town, the unforeseen nugget took a while before it became the object of attention.
The Wedderburn meteorite as it is also referred to had been lying in Australia since 1951. The small odd-looking space rock that barely weighs a little above 200 grams, is being studied for decades, but its most striking property wasn’t discovered until now.
Technically, Edscottite is just a phase that iron goes through while cooling down on its way to getting smelted into steel. But this Edscottite is extraordinary by virtue of its origin. Instead of being a phase in a man-made process, this one was formed naturally.
Scientists analysed it and confirmed it to be a natural occurrence of the iron-carbide mineral a few months ago, reported CNN.
Only a part of the black and red space rock can still be found shelved with other geological finds at Museums Victoria in Australia. The rest was used up while conducting multiple scientific pieces of research on its properties aiming to ascertain its peculiarities. In the process, traces of gold and iron have also been found in the meteorite, along with other minerals like kamacite, taenite, troilite, and schreibersite – all of which are rare finds.
The discovery of this mineral is crucial as it wasn’t known to mankind until now that this form of iron carbide mineral can occur in nature. The synthetic version of it has existed for ages, however.
Thanks to this discovery, now Edscottite has also been officially recognised by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA).
One must note here, there is yet no certainty over how this sliver of natural Edscottite wound up on rural Wedderburn. Some scientists believe it to have formed inside the immensely pressurised and heated core of an ancient planet that may have blasted apart due to a massive cosmic collision.