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Wed Jun 27, 2012, 03:57 AM

Panguite: Earthís newest and one of solar systemís oldest minerals

Panguite: Earthís newest and one of solar systemís oldest minerals

The best-studied meteorite in history, Allende, is still yielding new mineral discoveries 40 years after it scattered thousands of pieces of meteorite across the State of Chihuahua in Mexico.
Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Wednesday , 27 Jun 2012


Geology geeks and Trekkies throughout Planet Earth can rejoice-panguite, the world's newest and perhaps one of its oldest minerals-announced Tuesday by the International Mineralogical Association's Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification, can trace its origins to before the birth of our solar system.

Four decades after a fireball exploded, scattering thousands of pieces of the Allende Meteorite across Mexico's State of Chihuahua, scientists from California's Institute of Technology, engaged in an ongoing nanomineralogy investigation of primitive meteorites, discovered panguite embedded in the space rock.

The new titanium oxide is named after Pangu, a giant from Chinese mythology who created the Earth and the Sky. After 18,000 years, Pangu was laid to rest where his breath became the wind, his voice, the thunder, his left eye the sun, his right eye the moon, his body the mountains, his bones the valuable minerals, and his bone marrow sacred diamonds.

"Panguite is an especially exciting discovery since it is not only a new mineral, but also a material previously unknown to science," said Chi Ma, a senior scientist and director of the Geological and Planetary Sciences Division's Analytical Facility at Caltech. Since 2007 Ma and his team have been probing the Allende Meteorite, discovering nine new minerals including panguite.


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