Mineral 'never seen in nature' found in meteorite

Rob Waugh
Contributor
The Wedderburn meteorite (Museums CC)

A mineral never seen in nature has been found in a scan of a meteorite found by the side of a road in Australia.

The Wedderburn meteorite is a 210g piece of space rock which was found near a remote mining town in Victoria in 1951.

Caltech (California Institute of Technology) researchers have scanned the rock and found a mineral - ‘edscottite’ - which has never been seen in nature.

Researchers now believe that the space rock came from the core of another planet, destroyed in an ancient collision.

A team from Caltech scanned a small portion of the meteorite for rare minerals in 2018, and found a mineral seen in iron smelters, but never in nature.

Dr Stuart Mills, Museums Victoria's senior curator of geosciences, said: ‘This meteorite had an abundance of carbon in it.

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‘As it slowly cooled down, the iron and carbon came together and formed this mineral.’

The find is quite unique, Dr Mills told The Age.

Dr Mills said, ’We have discovered 500,000 to 600,000 minerals in the lab, but fewer than 6000 that nature’s done itself.’

The mineral is named after cosmochemist Edward Scott of the University of Hawaii.

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