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Diamonds in the meteorite can hail from our ancient solar system



  Diamonds in meteorites can hail from our ancient solar system

A colored scanning electron microscope (STEM) showing the diamond phase (blue), inclusions (yellow) and the graphite region of the Almahata Sitta meteorite No. 15

Photo credit: Dr , F. Nabiei / Dr. E. Oveisi / Prof. C. Hébert, EPFL, Switzerland

In 2008, diamond-studded diamonds came from space and landed in the Nubian Desert in Sudan. And according to a new study, these meteorite crystals provide the first physical evidence of an old lost building block from the dawn of the solar system.

In the study, a research team found that the Almahata Sitta Meteorite was once a protoplanet, one of dozens of early worlds that experienced impacts and build-ups to ultimately create the rocky planets in our solar system.

The diamond pieces inside the meteorite capture these protoplanets and their collisions. So far, the existence of these early worlds has been predicted only by simulation models. [Meteorite Studies Reveal Surprises About Earth̵

7;s Formation]

The diamond meteorite appears to have originated on a protoplanet between the size of the Moon and Mars that collided with other objects in the first 10 million years of the solar system and no longer exists as a whole statement on the current study. These falls were large and energetic, causing catastrophic disturbances in the case of the parent body of the diamond meteorite, which the crystals detected.

  A transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of a deformed diamond matrix in Almahata Sitta MS-170 meteorite. The scale bar is 200 nm.

A transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of a deformed diamond matrix in the meteorite Almahata Sitta MS-170. The scale is 200 nm.

F. Nabiei / Dr. E. Oveisi, EPFL, Switzerland

Diamonds can act as time capsules: they trap nearby minerals during the formation process and, with their strength and stability, preserve the material that scientists call inclusions. On Earth, diamonds are used to identify the structure and composition of the deep layers of the planet.

Therefore, the meteorite diamonds reveal information about their parent protoplanets. The analysis of the Almahata Sitta meteorite reveals that it is an Achondrit, a rare type of space rock originating from celestial bodies large enough to generate internal warmth early in its history, metallic cores surrounded by rocks to create. Therefore, the Almahata sitta rock comes from a large asteroid or an early planet, as the research team has manifested a high concentration of carbon as diamond and graphite. Almahata Sitta is a type of meteorite called ureilite.

  The black fragment of Meteorite No. 15 of Almahata Sitta appears strongly against the lighter rocks of the Nubian Desert in northern Sudan.

The black fragment of the meteorite No. 15 of Almahata Sitta appears strongly against the lighter rocks The Nubian Desert in North Sudan

Picture credits: Peter Jenniskens (SETI Institute / NASA Ames)

In the new study, the main author Farhang Nabiei, a materials scientist at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, in Switzerland and his colleagues described in detail what they found when analyzing the inclusions in the ureilite diamonds. The scientists used transmission electron microscopy to study the high-pressure environment that formed the crystals and altered the surrounding minerals, and found that the composition and shapes of the inclusions within the diamond formed at high pressures (over 20 Gigapascals). 19659005] This means that the parent body of the Almahata Sitta meteorite was on the larger side of the protoplanetary scale – the size of Mercury to Mars – and that the remaining fragments of this space rock are what was left of this ancient celestial body, Nabiei said [19659005] The study was published online April 17 in the journal Nature Communications.

Follow Doris Elin Salazar on Twitter @salazar_elin . Follow us @Spacedotcom Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.


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