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Indian meteorite gives evidence on Earth’s formation

Date: 13 October 2021 Tags: Space

Issue

Researchers have managed to find composition of Earth’s lower mantle by studying a meteorite sample obtained from India.

 

Background

A meteor shower took place near the town of Katol in Maharashtra. Scientists had collected some fragments for studying.

 

Details

  • Studies carried out initially showed that the host rock was mainly composed of olivine, an olive-green mineral. 

  • Olivine is the most abundant mineral in Earth’s upper mantle. The upper mantle follows the crust. The upper mantle is then followed mantle and the inner core.

 

Studying meteorite

  • Scientists made use of a special microscopy technique to analyse a small sample.  Laser micro-Raman spectrometer helped in determining mineralogy.

  • The crystal structure of the mineral was characterized to find out its mineralogy and texture.

 

New discovery

  • Researchers discovered the first natural occurrence of a mineral called bridgmanite. The mineral was named after Nobel Prize winning Physicist, Prof. Percy W. Bridgman.

  • Various experimental studies have shown that bridgmanite makes up about 80% of the Earth’s lower mantle.

 

Significance of study

  • The exact composition of upper mantle will help in tracing the journey of the Earth from a sea of Magma to a rocky planet today.

  • Occurrence of natural bridgmanite will help in deciphering how they crystallized during the final stages of our Earth’s formation.

 

Bridgmanite of meteor

  • The mineral was formed due to a shock event of about 23 to 25 gigapascals. The mineral within Earth was formed over billions of years and the composition changes.

  • The mineral does not form overnight. It requires melting, re-crystallizing and melting event to get back to the current state.