New unknown space rock uncovered in Sweden

Image: Birger Schmitz

A never before encountered rock from a meteorite has been found in Sweden.

The fossil meteorite is believed to be the first documented example of an extinct meteorite, and unlike any seen on earth before, according to Phys.org.

Found in a Swedish quarry, the rock known as Oest 65 is believed to be part of a larger asteroid between 20 and 30 kilometres wide which smashed into an even larger, 100 to 150 kilometres wide rock in space, the resulting collision of which sent debris all over the Earth.

It is believed to have been one of the largest single violent events in the solar system in the last three billion years.

Previously, remnants of the other, larger rock had been found, in the form of meteorites called chondrites, essentially making the space collision idea only a theory.

This new discovery now confirms the theory of an intergalactic collision between the two enormous extraterrestrial rocks.

“The single meteorite that we now found… is of a type that we do not know of from today’s world,” study co-author Birger Schmitz told AFP.

“The object contains very high concentrations (compared to Earth materials), of elements such as iridium, which is very rare on Earth,” Schmitz told Phys.org.

It is understood the clay around the find is 100,000 times richer in iridium than terrestrial rocks.

“The meteorite also contains high concentrations of rare isotopes of the element Neon” in different proportions compared to other unearthed chondrites, which are typically L-chondrites.

Live Science explained the rock falls into a class called the primitive achondrites, and resembles a very rare group of achondrites known as the winonaites, “But small differences in certain elements in its chromite grains set the mysterious object apart from the winonaites, and its texture and exposure age distinguish the new meteorite from the other 49,000 or so meteorites found so far on Earth.”

Schmitz told Live Science it is “a very, very strange and unusual find”.

It is believed the fossilised meteorite fell to earth around 470 million years ago, and is the first documented sample of an ‘extinct meteorite’, so named because the parent rock has been destroyed completely by intergalactic collisions, meaning no more pieces can fall to Earth.

Around 100 pieces of chondrite have been discovered to date.

Study author Birger Schmitz is known for his work reconstructing the meteorite flux to Earth during the Ordovician period, about 470 million years ago, a professor of geology at Lund University, and served as the chairman for the Geology and Geophysics Committee at the Swedish Research Council 2003-2009

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