BOMBSHELL Diamonds found inside a meteorite could be 4.5 billion years old
18 April, 2018, 06:23
Researchers from Switzerland, France and Germany examined diamonds found inside the Almahata Sitta meteorite and concluded they were most likely formed by a proto-planet at least 4.55 billion years ago.
A team has published their results in the journal Nature Communications. This early formation period was a chaotic and violent time, and the four inner solar systemplanets are the only survivors of a brutal series of collisions. EPFL materials scientist Farhang Nabiei told The Washington Post, "These samples are coming from an era that we don't have any access to..." The space rock in question is a unique type of stony meteorite called a ureilite, owing to the area of Russian Federation where they were first found, Urey.
Furthermore, the authors explain that the parent material that eventually decomposed can form only under an extremely high-pressure environment that could be found only in a planetary body between the size of Mercury and Mars. These have been known for a long time to exist inside Earth's diamonds, but are now described for the first time in an extraterrestrial body.
And they always contain tiny flecks of diamond.
"A commonplace theory for the origins of planets is that there were a lot of small objects that ran into each other to make larger objects", he said.
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Transmission electron microscopy revealed traces of chromite, phosphate and iron-nickel sulfides inside the larger diamonds. Called "inclusions", these particles are only found in diamonds formed under sustained high pressures of more than 20 gigapascals. They could only have formed under incredible pressure - the equivalent of diving 600 kilometers into Earth's interior or attempting to hold up 100,000 tons with your bare hands.
These are called protoplanets, the "embryos" of planets, and the early Solar System had hundreds of them. This indicated to the scientists that they originally formed inside a planetary body ranging in size between Mercury and Mars, suggesting the ureilites were, in fact, the last remaining remnants of one of these lost planets.
"Mars-sized bodies (such as the giant impactor that formed the Moon) were common [in the early solar system], and either accreted to form larger planets, or collided with the Sun or were ejected from the solar system".
"This study provides convincing evidence that the ureilite parent body was one such large "lost" planet before it was destroyed by collisions". The ureilites could have come from the same protoplanet that existed for a few million years before its demise in a collision.
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