[meteorite-list] Newly discovered meteorite could explain booming life on Earth
From: Shawn Alan <shawnalan_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:43:57 -0700
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Researchers in Sweden have found a new class of meteorite. And according
to LiveScience, that discovery ? published in Earth and Planetary
Science Letters ? may be the missing link in the asteroid crash that
sparked the diversification of life on Earth nearly 500 million years
The meteorite in question was found in a quarry located just west of
Stockholm. Finding meteorites there isn?t all that surprising, given
that more than 100 have been dug up in the past 20 years. But previous
finds were all of the common L-chondrite variety, a class of meteorite
that started raining down on Earth 470 million years ago when a small
asteroid crashed into a much larger one made up of these L-chondrites.
That crash, scientists say, caused a meteor shower that resulted in just
the right amount of destruction to drive animals and plants to diversify
and form new species. But the specifics of that crash have always been
shrouded in mystery, because the composition of the first, smaller
asteroid is unknown. That?s why the new meteorite discovery is so
important: scientists think it?s a fragment of the ?asteroid
destroyer? that triggered an explosion of species diversification on
David Harper, a geologist at Durham University who did not participate
in the study, told New Scientist that ?the team may at last have
identified the impactor responsible for the break-up of the parent body
of the L-chondrite meteorites.?
But that finding will need to be validated, because some scientists
aren?t even sure it belongs to a new class of meteorite yet. Timothy
Swindle, a meteorite expert at the University of Arizona, told
LiveScience that he thinks scientists might still be able to link it to
known classes of meteorite ? despite the compositional differences
that set it apart from previous finds. ?I think it?s entirely
plausible [that it's a new kind of meteorite], and it?s a great study,
but that?s not a guarantee they?ve got it right,? Swindle said.
?But if they didn?t, it?s because of new things we?ll find out
in future work, not because of their analysis.?
The new meteorite hasn?t been named yet, but it might end up being
called ??sterplana,? after a nearby church. In the meantime,
however, researchers are choosing to call it the ?mysterious object?
? and given the questions that continue to surround it, that interim
name seems appropriate.
Received on Mon 07 Jul 2014 07:43:57 PM PDT