Unknown alien mineral discovered on Earth

Unknown alien mineral discovered on Earth

Researchers have discovered a previously unknown mineral in a meteorite that fell to Earth in 2016. They baptized the mineral, which does not occur on earth, in the name of uakitite.

Novosibirsk (Russia). Viktor Scharygin and his colleagues from the State University of Novosibirsk discovered a previously unknown mineral during the investigation of a meteorite that fell to Earth in Siberia in 2016.

The previously unknown mineral, which the scientists christened uakitite, must have been created by enormous heat and is almost as hard as diamond. It is a nitride, forms cube-shaped crystals and consists of vanadium and nitrogen as well as small parts of iron and chromium. The tiny uakitite crystals inside the so-called uakite meteorite, which consists of an iron-nickel alloy, are so small that Scharygin and his colleagues could only determine the composition and structure of the mineral directly. The scientists developed previously known physical properties from comparisons with vanadium nitride.

The composition of the meteorite in which the recently discovered mineral was found shows that uakitite must have been formed under extreme conditions, because other minerals found in the meteorite only form at a temperature of over 1,000 degrees Celsius.

The uakitite is surrounded by iron and chromium sulfides, which separated from the original iron-nickel melt. The shape of the uakitite crystals indicates that it crystallized from the melt very early on and is actually an independent mineral.

Due to the special formation conditions, uakitite can only occur in space in iron-nickel asteroids, which were melted at temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius.

Theoretically, existence would also be conceivable on earth, since the earth's core is also made of iron and nickel, but uakitite has never been found on earth and it remains questionable whether it can even arise on earth.