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Discovery of a new mineral in a meteorite. It will help us to unravel the secrets of our mantle
As it has evolved our planet in the course of billions of years of its history, and what are the characteristics of its core and mantle? The answer is contained in a small fragment of a meteorite, within which the international group of researchers led by Luca Bindi , a professor at the University of Florence, has identified a new mineral, the hiroseite. Documenting the study published in the journal Science Advances, that provides, for the first time, an experimental confirmation of the assumptions made about the transformations that have taken place in the composition of our planet since its formation.

The new mineral, a silicate of Iron and Magnesium, was identified in a sample of the meteorite Suizhou, fall, 1986 Dayanpo, China. The pressure and the temperature at which the hiroseite is formed, in the collision between asteroids in space, are comparable to those present in the deep mantle of our planet and in its composition there is a high presence of oxidized iron, a state of the chemical element until now only hypothesized in this layer of the Earth.

“To understand the meaning of this discovery - comments Bindi, professor of Mineralogy of the University of florence - it is necessary to start from the fact that iron can exist in three oxidation states, the metal iron (Fe0) and iron in the form of bivalent Fe2+ and trivalent Fe3+; the latter are formed in contact with the oxygen, as happens in the process of rusting. It is thought that in the earth's core there is only the iron to the state of metal - continues the researcher -while in the mantle, the scientific community believes that the iron is present as Fe2+ and Fe3+”.

in Addition to describing the new species in mineralogy, thanks to the study of chemical and structural hiroseite, the researcher fiorentino and colleagues of Arizona State University and the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry (chinese Academy of Sciences) have been able to experimentally demonstrate the mechanism hypothesized as responsible for the oxidation of our cloak, making it clear that the Fe-oxidized form, directly in the mineral itself, as in the one they identified.

The new mineral the name of which is inspired by Kei Hirose, the geophysicist of the japanese who has studied for years about the possible minerals present in the great depths of our planet, will enable scientists to also get closer to understanding the composition of earth's core. © Reproduction reserved
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