Found in the Sahara, a meteorite turned out to be part of the protoplanet of the early solar system

Achondrite, discovered in Algeria (in the Sahara Desert) last year, appeared just 2 million years after the birth of the solar system. A group of researchers from France and Japan shared their findings in a journal in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Achondrites are types of meteorites that were once part of the protoplanet. The planet to which they once belonged collapsed during a collision with another body. So her remains reached the Earth.

To date, only a few thousand achondrites have been discovered and studied, most of which are basaltic. The new achondrite, called EC 002, is distinguished by its characteristics. In a new study, scientists have found that it is composed primarily of volcanic rock. This makes it andesite, a rock rich in sodium, iron and magnesium. On Earth, andesite is usually in a subduction zone, suggesting that EC 002 originated from the crust of a very early protoplanet. The age of the rock showed that it is about 4.6 billion years old. Researchers identified it as achondrite by studying the isotopes of magnesium and aluminum.

Additional study of the rock showed that it took about 100 thousand years to cool and solidify. It looks like such materials were likely common on protoplanets in the early solar system. However, the sample itself is considered a very rare find. 3 other similar samples have not been found on Earth. It is also the oldest magnetic rock ever observed.

The researchers speculate that a closer look at achondrite may lead to a better understanding of how planets form.

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Alexandr Ivanov earned his Licentiate Engineer in Systems and Computer Engineering from the Free International University of Moldova. Since 2013, Alexandr has been working as a freelance web programmer.
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Alexandr Ivanov

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