4.5 Billion Year Old Meteorite

4.5 Billion Year Old Fukang Meteorite

4.5 billion year old meteorite.

A meteorite was discovered near Fukang, a city located in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, China. Named the ‘Fukang meteorite‘, it was identified as a pallasite, a type of stony–iron meteorite, with striking olivine crystals throughout.

Pallasites are extremely rare even among meteorites (only about 1% of all meteorites are this type) and Fukang has been hailed as one of the greatest meteorite discoveries of the 21st century.

The Fukang pallasite is believed to originate from deep inside intact meteors created during the formation of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago and very few specimens are thought to have survived their descent through Earth’s atmosphere.

An anonymous group of collectors currently holds the largest portion which weighs 419.5 kg (925 pounds). In 2008 they attempted to sell it at auction at Bonham’s in New York for approximately $2 million but did not receive any bidders. A total of 31 kilograms (68 lb) of the specimen is on deposit at University of Arizona’s Southwest Meteorite Laboratory.

Have you ever found a meteorite?

Source: Twisted Drifter

A meteorite is a solid piece of debris, from such sources as asteroids or comets, that originates in outer space and survives its impact with the Earth’s surface. It is called a meteoroid before its impact. A meteorite’s size can range from small to extremely large. When a meteoroid enters the atmosphere, friction, pressure, and chemical interactions with the atmospheric gases cause it to heat up and radiate that energy, thus forming a fireball, also known as a meteor or shooting/falling star. The term bolide refers to either an extraterrestrial body that collides with the Earth, or to an exceptionally bright, fireball-like meteor regardless of whether it ultimately impacts the surface.
More generally, a meteorite on the surface of any celestial body is a natural object that has come from somewhere in space. Meteorites have been found on the Moon and Mars. Meteorites that are recovered after being observed as they transit the atmosphere or impact the Earth are called meteorite fall. All other meteorites are known as finds. As of February 2010, there are approximately 1,086 witnessed falls having specimens in the world’s collections. In contrast, there are more than 38,660 well-documented meteorite finds.
Meteorites have traditionally been divided into three broad categories: stony meteorites are rocks, mainly composed of silicate minerals; iron meteorites that are largely composed of metallic iron-nickel; and, stony-iron meteorites that contain large amounts of both metallic and rocky material. Modern classification schemes divide meteorites into groups according to their structure, chemical and isotopic composition and mineralogy. Meteorites smaller than 2mm are classified as micrometeorites.

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