WASHINGTON: An exploding fireball tore through the sky over Mexico, scattering thousands of pieces of meteorite across the state of Chihuahua in 1969.
Recently, scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) discovered a new mineral embedded in the space rock, one they believe to be among the oldest minerals formed in the solar system.
Dubbed panguite, the new titanium oxide is named after Pan Gu, the giant from ancient Chinese mythology who established the world by separating yin from yang to create the earth and the sky, the journal American Mineralogist reports.The mineral and the mineral name have been approved by the International Mineralogical Association's Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification, according to a Caltech statement. "
Panguite is an especially exciting discovery since it is not only a new mineral, but also a material previously unknown to science," says study co-author Chi Ma, senior scientist a t the Geological and Planetary Sciences division's Analytical Facility at Caltech.
Called the Allende meteorite is the largest carbonaceous chondrite-a diverse class of primitive meteorites-ever found on our planet and is considered by many the best-studied meteorite in history.
"Such investigations are essential to understand the origins of our solar system," Ma concludes.