Two unknown minerals found in meteorite that fell in Somalia – What scientists discovered


Two unknown minerals have been discovered by scientists investigating a 14-tonne meteorite found in Somalia two years ago.

The space rock was sent to the University of Alberta, which is already researching a third mineral, possibly also unknown on Earth.

The two newly discovered minerals were named helalite and elkinstonite.

The meteorite, called ‘El Ali’, is classified as an ‘Iron cluster, IAB’ and is one of 350 in that category. However, it is the ninth largest meteorite ever found.

The meteorite was named in honor of the city where it was found, while the same name was given to the first mineral.

The second is named after Lindy Elkins-Tanton, director of the Interplanetary Initiative at Arizona State University and principal investigator of NASA’s Psyche mission.


Chris Herd, a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and curator of the University of Alberta’s Meteorite Collection, said in a statement: “Whenever you find a new mineral, it means that the actual geological conditions, the chemistry of the rock, was different than what had been found before. That’s what makes this exciting: In this particular meteorite, we have two officially unknown minerals.”

Herd is also optimistic that more new minerals could be revealed if researchers take more samples from the meteorite.

The meteorite landed outside the city and was first discovered by camel herders who alerted experts.

Space rock is about twice as dense as a normal Earth rock and is magnetic. Nothing like this has been observed on our planet.

You May Also Like

Recommended for you

Immediate Peak