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Meteorite Discovered, Remnant of Ancient Asteroid Collisions

Jun 21, 2016 08:26 AM EDT
Meteor Crater
While unearthing space rocks on the planet is not entirely new, the discovery of a new type of meteorite amazed researchers and scientists. The Ost 65 found in a quarry site in Sweden is said to be linked to the asteroid collision that occurred 470 million years ago.
(Photo : Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images)

A new type of meteorite was found in a Swedish quarry site, a rock formation that has never been found on Earth before. The said meteorite is linked to ancient asteroid collision and is believed to be a fragment that fell to Earth in a collision 470 million years ago.

In a report published in Nature Communications, the researchers reported that the meteorite is an ancient space rock alien to Earth.

"In our entire civilization, we have collected over 50,000 meteorites, and no one has seen anything like this one before," Qing-zhu Yin, co-author of the study said in a statement published by Science Daily. "Discovering a new type of meteorite is very, very exciting."

The researchers from the University of California - Davis called the meteorite Ost 65. It is linked to the massive asteroid collision 470 million years ago. The debris ricochets into Earth for about one million years and diversified the life during the Ordovician Period.

One famous object involved in the historic collision is a known source of L-chondrites, a common type of meteorite. But what caused the massive collision is still unidentified until today.

The fossilized remnants of Ost 65 believed to have impacted Earth before the dinosaurs. The ancient meteorite was unearthed in a Swedish quarry in Thorsberg, a known source of more than 100 fossil meteorites. Ost 65 is under four inches and with visible gray color engraved in a pristine layer of a "fossil-rich" pink limestone, according to Popular Science.

To get the findings, the space rock had to undergo analysis, since the actual rock is completely altered with only traces of minerals spinels and chromite evident. With the help of chromium and oxygen isotopes in the surviving minerals, the researchers were able to distinguish that the rock is different from all known meteorite classifications.

Other factors point out that the newly discovered meteorite is linked to the L-chondrite meteorites. The factors include the exposure of the rock to cosmic rays before it reached the Earth 470 million years ago. The timeline coincides with the L-chondrite meteorites, leading researchers to say that Ost 65 is a fragment of other objects from the Ordovician collision.

Researchers believe that all objects in the Solar System are connected to one another. And the patching up of fragments from pieces found on Earth supports that theory. And the researchers believe that by finding more ancient space rocks on Earth, they might be able to tell the building blocks of the planet Earth.


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