Science Daily reports that planetary scientists from Curtin University found that a unique volcanic meteorite recovered in Western Australia may reveal the violent history of our solar system.
Associate Professor Fred Jourdan, along with colleagues Professor Phil Bland and Dr Gretchen Benedix from Curtin’s Department of Applied Geology, believe the meteorite is evidence that a series of collisions of asteroids occurred more than 3.4 billion years ago.
“This meteorite is definitely one-of-a-kind,” Dr Jourdan said.
“Nearly all meteorites we locate come from Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the solar system. But after studying the meteorite’s composition and orbit, it appears it derived from a large, unidentified asteroid that was split apart during the collisions.”
The research team dated the meteorite with the argon-argon technique, a well-known method for dating impact crater events, to offer a glimpse of the asteroid’s impact history.
Falling to earth in 2007 and believed to originate from Vesta, the scientific team found that the meteorite had not a single impact after 3.4 billion years ago until it arrived on earth, and they recorded three impact events between 3.6 billion and 3.4 billion years ago. This information confirms that some of the bombardment history of the solar system ended after 3.4 billion years, helping scientists with the timeline of the evolution of our region of space.
You can read more about this discovery on the report from Curtin University.
The Rice Northwest Museum is home to an outstanding collection of meteorites on exhibit in cooperation with the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory of Portland State University. Each May, the museum celebrates the Annual Meteorite and Family Fun Day with extensive special exhibits, demonstrations, lectures, and more.
Interested in learning more about meteorites? Read our Meteorite article and visit the museum to touch the Gibeon Meteorite from Africa.