Geologists have discovered two alien minerals unknown to Earth in a meteorite in Somalia. A small, 2.5 ounce (70-gram) fragment of the fifteen thousand kilogram fallen comet known as El Ali revealed the alien ore.
Scientists stumbled upon the unknown mineral in the meteorite while sampling a slice. It was only after analyzing the segment in a lab that they realized they had discovered something completely new.
Alien minerals in El Ali meteorite
Researchers, scientists, and geologists are excited by the revelation, as it might help them understand more about asteroids and how they form as well as the possibility of locating more.
Live Science magazine reports the curator and professor in the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta Chris Herd as having stated:
Whenever you find a new mineral, it means that the actual geological conditions, the chemistry of the rock, was different than what’s been found before. That’s what makes this exciting: In this particular meteorite you have two officially described minerals that are new to science.
Herd named one of the alien deposits ‘elaliite’ after the El Ali meteorite. The other he termed ‘elkinstantonite’ after Professor Lindy Elkins-Tanto, the vice president of the Interplanetary Initiative at Arizona State University. Elkins-Tanton is also the chief investigator of what they call the ‘Psyche’ mission, part of the NASA operation to reach the Asteroid Psyche 16 by 2023.
How asteroids form
Elkins-Tanton is famous for her work on the formation of asteroids, which the foreign elements may help in deciphering. For that reason, Herd named one after her, saying that:
Lindy has done a lot of work on how the cores of planets form, how these iron nickel cores form, and the closest analogue we have are iron meteorites. So it made sense to name a mineral after her and recognize her contributions to science.
The El Ali meteorite is composed of more than three hundred unfamiliar IAB meteorite and iron. Nevertheless, the discovery of something non-native to Earth came as a surprise to all. This is something that Herd’s colleague, Dr. Andrew Locock, affirmed.
“The very first day he did some analysis he said ‘You’ve got at least two new minerals here,'” Locock said.
Herd called upon his colleague, Locock, to study the segments they found. Locock is an expert in identifying formerly unknown minerals and possesses a wealth of knowledge on how asteroids form.
Researchers came upon the El Ali meteorite in 2020. That, apparently, was when most of the world found out about it.
According to IFLScience, however, it had had a long history in the oral culture and ancient folklore of the Saar people of Somalia eons before Western scientists learned about it.
The Saars sung songs of its mystery, mightiness, and magic for over five centuries. They also glorified it in poetry and dance and even used it to sharpen their knives, perhaps out of practicality.