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11

Scientists Discovered a Rare, Never-Been-Found-in-Nature Mineral in a Meteorite

In 1951, a small 210-gram Wedderburn meteorite, edscottite, was found along the side of a road in a remote Australian gold rush town. It was named after a meteorite expert and cosmochemist, Edward Scott.

For decades, scientists have been analyzing its components and they just found one recently! The meteorite contains a rare form of iron-carbide mineral, one that’s only created in laboratories but never been found in nature.

Such a confirmation is important, because it's a prerequisite for minerals to be officially recognized as such by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA).
Thanks to the new analysis by Chi Ma and UCLA geophysicist Alan Rubin, edscottite is now an official member of the IMA's mineral club, which is more exclusive than you might think.

There are several theories as to how this piece of natural edscottite ended up just outside of a rural town. We are uncertain, but one thing’s sure – our understanding of the universe gets richer and richer as the years go by.

Image Credit: Museums Victoria / CC BY 4.0


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