In the May-June issue of the journal American Mineralogist, a team of scientists announced the discovery of the new mineral krotite, one of the earliest minerals formed in our solar system. It is the main component of an unusual inclusion embedded in a meteorite (NWA 1934), found in northwest Africa. These objects, known as refractory inclusions, are thought to be the first planetary materials formed in our solar system, dating back to before the formation of the Earth and the other planets.
This particular grain is known affectionately as "Cracked Egg" for its distinctive appearance. Dr. Harold C. Connolly, Jr. and student Stuart A. Sweeney Smith at the City University of New York (CUNY) and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) first recognized the grain to be of a very special type, known as a calcium-aluminum-rich refractory inclusion. ("Refractory" refers to the fact that these grains contain minerals that are stable at very high temperature, which attests to their likely formation as very primitive, high-temperature condensates from the solar nebula.)
Cracked Egg refractory inclusion was sent to Dr. Chi Ma at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for very detailed nano-mineralogy investigation. Dr. Ma then sent it to Dr. Anthony Kampf, Curator of Mineral Sciences at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM), for X- ray diffraction study. Kampf's findings, confirmed by Ma, showed the main component of the grain was a low-pressure calcium aluminum oxide (CaAl2O4) never before found in nature. Kampf's determination of the atomic arrangement in the mineral showed it to be the same as that of a man-made component of some types of refractory (high-temperature) concrete.
What insight can we get from knowing that a common man-made component of modern concrete is found in nature only as a very rare component of a grain formed more than 4.5 billion years ago? Such investigations are essential in deciphering the origins of our solar system. The creation of the man-made compound requires temperature of at least 1,500°C (2,732°F). This, coupled with the fact that the compound forms at low pressure, is consistent with krotite forming as a refractory phase from the solar nebula. Therefore, the likelihood is that krotite is one of the first minerals formed in our solar system.
Studies of the unique Cracked Egg refractory inclusion are continuing, in an effort to learn more about the conditions under which it formed and subsequently evolved. In addition to krotite, the Cracked Egg contains at least eight other minerals, including one other mineral new to science.
The American Mineralogist paper is entitled "Krotite, CaAl2O4, a new refractory mineral from the NWA 1934 meteorite." It is authored by Chi Ma (Caltech), Anthony R. Kampf (NHM), Harold C. Connolly Jr. (CUNY and AMNH), John R. Beckett (Caltech), George R. Rossman (Caltech), Stuart A. Sweeney Smith (who was a NSF funded Research for Undergraduate (REU) student at CUNY/AMNH) and Devin L. Schrader (University of Arizona). Krotite is named for Alexander N. Krot, a cosmochemist at the University of Hawaii, in recognition of his significant contributions to the understanding of early solar system processes.
About the Natural History Museum:
The NHM is a national leader in research, exhibitions and education. It was the first dedicated museum building in Los Angeles, opening its doors in 1913 and has since amassed one of the world's most extensive and valuable collections of natural and cultural history — with more than 35 million objects, some as old as 4.5 billion years. The Natural History Family of Museums includes the NHM, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits (Hancock Park/Mid-Wilshire), and the William S. Hart Museum (Newhall, California).Visit www.nhm.org or call (213) 763-DINO.
NHM Next Transformation:
The completed renovation of the Natural History Museum's Beaux-Arts 1913 Building sets the stage for the Museum's rollout of new visitor experiences leading up to the Museum's centennial in 2013. The milestone re-opening of the 1913 Building began in 2010 with new exhibitions inside its iconic Rotunda and the new exhibition Age of Mammals. On July 16, 2011, the Museum debuts its new Dinosaur Hall. An exhibition focusing on the Southern California's natural and cultural history will open in 2012, and over 2012 and 2013, 3.5 acres of outdoor nature experiences, the North Campus, and their indoor component, the Nature Lab, open.
Kristin Friedrich | EurekAlert!
Climate change weakens Walker circulation
20.10.2017 | MARUM - Zentrum für Marine Umweltwissenschaften an der Universität Bremen
Shallow soils promote savannas in South America
20.10.2017 | Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research