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Meteorite study provides clues on mantle of Earth

Date: 29 June 2021 Tags: Geography & Environment

Issue

Scientists have now studied a meteorite that has been holding clues on the composition of Earth’s mantle.

 

Background

The crust, mantle and core form important components of the Earth. The composition and structure of crust is known but very little about other two are available.

 

Details

  • The meteorite not only offers glimpses into Earth’s mantle composition but also the formation of the Earth itself.

  • The research team from IIT-Kharagpur were able to study a shock meteorite. The shock meteorite has undergone various high-temperature and high-pressure conditions.

  • These changes may have taken place due to an impact event. They were able to conclude that composition of Earth’s mantle and meteorite was same.

  • The meteorite was found near Assam in 2015 and belongs to the asteroid belt located between Jupiter and Mars.

 

Observations

  • The material of the meteorite is composed of Olivine. It is a mineral that is usually found in dark coloured igneous rocks.

  • The compound has high crystallisation temperature among major rock forming minerals. It is also found to exist in Earth’s mantle.

  • The researchers used electron microscope for high resolution imaging and scanning of the meteorite.

  • They were able to perform several complex analyses to determine the chemical reaction that takes place in the Earth’s mantle.

  • The Earth’s interior’s properties were controlled through reactions when Olivine breaks up into Magnesiowustite and Bridgmanite.

 

The mantle

  • The mantle is the second layer of the Earth after the core. It starts from 660 km and spans till 2,700 km under the Earth’s surface.

  • It is very difficult to study composition of materials at such depths. Volcanic activities and magma provides the only opportunity for such studies.