Scientists confirm the discovery of a mineral never seen before


The ore was found on the side of a road in a remote city in Australia.

In 1951, near Wedderburn, a small piece of 210 grams of meteorite was discovered. For decades, scientists have been trying to decipher their secrets, and researchers have just revealed another. In a new study led by mineralogist Chi Ma, scientists analyzed this space rock and verified the first natural occurrence of what they call ‘edscottite’. This is a rare form of iron carbide ore that has never before been found in nature.

This meteorite, which is part of the geological collection of the Victoria Museums of Australia, was examined by numerous research teams, to the point that only about one third of the original specimen still remains intact.

The discovery of edscottite, named in honor of meteorite and cosmochemical expert Edward Scott of the University of Hawaii, is significant because it has never been confirmed before that this distinctive atomic formulation of iron carbide ore occurs naturally. This is very important because it is a prerequisite for minerals to be officially recognized as such by the "International Mineralogy Association" ("IMA").

But thanks to the new analysis by Chi Ma and UCLA geophysicist Alan Rubin, edscottite is now an official member of the IMA mineral club, which is more exclusive than it seems.

"We have discovered between 500,000 and 600,000 minerals in the laboratory, but less than 6,000 were created by nature alone," Victoria Museum curator Stuart Mills, who was not involved in the new study, told The Age.

Geoffrey Bonning of the National University of Australia, who also did not participate in the study, explained that the mineral may have formed in the heated and pressurized core of an ancient planet.

This important finding was published in American Mineralogist.

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Edscottite mineral meteorite
This is an image of the meteorite that was found near Wedderburn, Asuralia. Photo: Museums Victoria / CC BY 4.0)

With information from Science Alert and American Mineralogist.

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