Geologists have found a new type of meteorite which smashed into the planet around 470 million years ago, and they reckon it could be the first example of an “extinct” meteorite—a kind that no longer falls to Earth today.
By Victoria Turk | MOTHERBOARD
The meteorite, discovered fossilized in a limestone bed in Sweden, has a different composition to all of the known meteorite types. This suggests that the meteorites that fell in the past may have been different to those we see today, and offers potential new insight into the formation and composition of the Solar System.
“We know absolutely nothing about what types of meteorites fell on Earth in the distant past, before one or two million years [ago],” said Birger Schmitz, a professor in geology at Sweden’s Lund University and the lead author of the paper outlining the discovery, which was published on Tuesday in Nature Communications.
He explained that the majority of meteorites discovered from the past few million years fall into the same category (“ordinary chondrites”), but we don’t know what came before, hundreds of millions of years ago.