When scientists examined slices of one of Earth’s 10 largest alien meteorites: the El Ali meteorite, they discovered at least two new minerals, named elaiite and elkinstantonite.
In 2020, the 17-ton El Ali meteorite was unearthed from Somalia, and a 70-gram slice of the meteorite was sent to the University of Alberta in Canada for meteorite mineral classification.
The researchers classify El Ali as an IAB iron meteorite, dotted with tiny silicate chunks.
On the first day of analysis, the University of Alberta team identified 2 new minerals (in terms of the earth’s nature) both composed of iron, polonium, and oxygen.
According to the geographical location and the name of influential planetary scientists, the new minerals were named elaiite and elkinstantonite respectively. The former has the chemical formula Fe 2+ 8 Fe 3+ (PO 4 )O 8 and the latter has the chemical formula Fe 4 (PO 4 ) 2 O. In addition, there may be a third new mineral yet to be identified.
Whenever we discover a new mineral, it means we can sort out the geological process and rock chemical composition of the asteroid.
Whenever there is a new material, materials scientists are also interested, because it may have potential uses, scientists hope to further analyze other samples.
Frustratingly though, the El Ali meteorite appears to be missing, and rumor has it that it was shipped to China for sale…