What is Panguite? An observation
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Panguite is a new mineral that originated from meteorite Allende. It is believed one of the oldest minerals in the solar system, which is about 4.5 billion years old. It belongs to a class of refractory minerals that could have formed only under the extreme temperatures and conditions present in the infant solar system.
It is a titanium dioxide mineral approved by the International Mineralogical Association named after Pan Gu, a character in Chinese mythology believed “to be the first living being who created the world by separating yin from yang (forming the earth and sky).[Infographic: The Science of Meteorites] as LiveScience Managing Editor Jeanna Bryner reported.
Let it be remembered that in 1969, meteorite Allende was seen as a fireball that lit up Mexico’s skies that spread meteorite bits and pieces across northern Mexico and state of Chihuahua. Allende meteorite that hid panguite is considered the largest of a class of carbonaceous chondrites found on Earth.
This discovery enable scientists to unravel that Chondrites are primitive meteorites which were remnants shed from the original building blocks of planets. Most meteorites found on Earth fit into this group, (When meteors hit the ground they are called meteorites.) Bryner reported further.
According to researcher and Caltech senior scientist Ma Chi, panguite is an especially exciting discovery since it is not only a new mineral, but also a material previously unknown to science. It had neither been seen in nature nor created in a lab. "It's brand-new to science," Ma told LiveScience in an interview as Bryner quoted.
Scanning-electron microscope is used to see the panguite within a so-called ultra-refractory inclusion embedded within the meteorite. As the meteorites are forming there are minerals trapped inside called inclusions. Minerals that resist high temperatures and other conditions in extreme environments are ultra-refractory type such as those thought to exists as our solar system was forming.
Panguite’s chemical composition and crystal structure as revealed through high-tech laboratory tests and analyses which Ma considered is new and could be explored to novel engineering materials.
High-tech lab analyses revealed panguite's chemical composition and crystal structure, which Ma said is new, and as such, could be explored for novel engineering materials.
Most meteorites, before they reach terra firma are fragments of asteroids ( space rocks that travel through the solar system), others are mere cosmic dust shred by comets.
Rare meteorites are impact debris from the surfaces of the moon and Mars. The Allende meteorite likely came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, scientists say as Bryner reported furthermore.
According to Ma, studying panguite and other components of the Allende meteorite are essential for the understanding the origins of the solar system. Panguite is one of nine new mineral Ma’s team has discovered in the Allende space rock which will be featured in July issue of the journal America Mineralogist.