department-of-geology-and-geophyscisIIT Kharagpur researchers find a mineral seen in the depths of the Earth in a meteorite

The Hindu (November 1, 2021)

Scientists find a mineral seen in the depths of the Earth in a meteorite

The study by IIT Kharagpur scientists adds a clue to the puzzle of the formation of the Moon
The key findings of a study led by IIT Kharagpur researchers could help us understand the formation and evolution of the Earth. They have studied a meteorite that fell near the town of Katol in Nagpur District of Maharashtra on May 22, 2012, reporting for the first time, presence of veins of the mineral bridgmanite, which is the most abundant mineral in the interior of the Earth, within the Katol L6 Chondrite meteorite. This finding adds evidence to the Moon-forming giant impact hypothesis.
Abundant mineral
“Bridgmanite is the most volumetrically abundant mineral of the Earth’s interior. It is present in the lower mantle (from 660 to 2700 km), and it is important to understand its formation mechanism to better comprehend the origin and evolution of planetary interiors,” says Sujoy Ghosh, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, who designed the study and is the lead author of the paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (the U.S.).

The Moon-forming giant impact hypothesis is that long ago, nearly 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth collided with a planet the size of Mars named Thela, and the force of this impact was so huge as to melt the Earth down from the surface to a depth of 750 km to 1,100 km. The hypothesis goes that this caused the Earth to be bathed in a magma ocean, and the ejecta from the collision led to the formation of the Moon.

This is the most favoured hypothesis on the formation of the Moon and the present finding by the Kharagpur team lends further support to it. (Read More)