Jun 17, 2016

    Rock buried for 470 million years found


    A PIECE of alien rock has been dug up in a limestone quarry in Sweden, where it had lain buried for about 470 million years, scientists said on Tuesday.

    The biscuit-sized remains are unlike any other meteorite found on Earth to date, and may shed light on the history and formation of the solar system, reported the journal Nature Communications.

    Dubbed Oest 65, it is thought to be a splinter of a potato-shaped rock some 20 to 30km wide, which had smashed into another much larger body, sprinkling the adolescent planet with debris.

    Previously, remnants of only one of the two rocks had been found, in the form of meteorites called chondrites.

    But now scientists believe they have unearthed a piece of the second space orb, boosting the theory of a major smash-up between two galactic travellers.

    "The single meteorite that we now found... is of a type that we do not know of from today's world," said study co-author Birger Schmitz of Lund University in Sweden.

    "The object contains very high concentrations (compared to Earth materials), of elements such as iridium, which is very rare on Earth," he explained.