Geologists discover proof meteorite hit Isle of Skye 60…

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 16, 2017

Geologists have uncovered mineral forms never before seen on Earth at the site of a 60 million-year-old meteorite strike on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

As well as the exotic mineral forms, the team reported the osbornite had not melted, which means that it is probably an original chunk of the meteorite itself. This unusual rock left scientists scratching their head, as the way in which the minerals were situated was completely different from previous knowledge.

"We thought it was an ignimbrite (a volcanic flow deposit)", said lead author Simon Drake, Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck University of London.

Sometimes, this analysis can even take place on alien space rocks that have been on our planet for a very long time. We were staggered... The most compelling evidence [of the rock's extraterrestrial origins] really is the presence of vanadium-rich and niobium-rich osbornite. Neither of these have ever been found on Earth before.

The discovery of reidite in their samples also suggests the minerals have come from meteorites.

"If you have a meteorite impact at extreme pressures, the mineral zircon will convert to a much denser mineral..."

Drake said, "This instantaneous conversion from zircon to reidite has only ever been discovered on Earth at meteor impact sites". They were, however, earlier collected by NASA's Stardust spacecraft from the space dust, trailing from the 4.5 billion-year-old Wild 2 comet in 2004.

The Isle of Skye is covered in volcanic rock, and Drake, along with his scientific partner, Andy Birbeck, now suspect that the explosive arrival of an extra-terrestrial visitor is possibly what kicked off-or at least helped along-a volcanic eruption. There's evidence that modern-day Iceland was entirely created by a period of volcanic activity, and some scientists believe that a meteor impact was responsible for sparking the evolution of life here on earth.

Drake and his team are now looking towards a larger geographic area surrounding the Isle in hopes of using this new discovery to learn about volcanic activity and the origins of the region.

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