Scientists say they have found space rocks for centuries in Antarctica. This is a very rare meteorite containing some of the oldest materials in the solar system.
“We were all so excited when we saw this just sitting in the middle of the blue ice,” said Chicago Field Museum researcher Maria Valdes. 17 pounds meteorite, is expressed as about “the size of a gourd”. The unusual rock, containing billions of years old material, is one of the largest meteorites ever discovered on the continent and may have originated in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Field Museum in Chicago, which participated in the study, said, “In a survey of meteorite sizes, only 100 of the 45,000 meteorites recovered from Antarctica in the last century were of this size or larger.” According to The Tribune, snowmobile researchers spent the better part of two weeks combing the ice fields looking for meteors.
Valdes said he was initially hesitant to celebrate. The team was convinced it had found a truly rare space rock when members discovered it was “the size of a bowling ball but weighs twice as much as a bowling ball.” The rock had what Valdes described as a “fused crust,” a glassy outer layer that slightly melted in the atmosphere. It was also worn. This indicates that it has existed on Earth for a long time. The meteorite was sent to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Belgium for chemical analysis.
“Every meteorite has something to say about Earth’s evolution,” Valdes said. “Size doesn’t always matter when it comes to meteorites. Even small micrometeorites are incredibly valuable scientifically.”
Most of the 45,000 meteorites discovered in Antarctica in the last 100 years weighed only a few grams, notes The Independent.