RARE Gujarat meteor set to reveal planetary secrets

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Last year, some fragments of a rare meteorite crashed in India. According to researchers, a meteorite that landed in Gujarat has been identified as a rare aubrite originating from a highly reduced and differentiated parent body within our solar system. What is particularly intriguing to them is that this uncommon element exhibits distinctive features of the highly reducing conditions present on the surface of Mercury. This finding could be crucial for gaining knowledge of secrets of planetary processes.

On August 17, 2022, fragments of a meteorite fell onto the agricultural land in the villages of Rantila and Ravel in the Diyodar taluka of Banaskantha district, Gujarat. Referred to as the Diyodar meteorite, researchers noted that the crash did not produce any visible trail but caused a loud noise resembling the sound of an airplane. The impact occurred on soft, clayey soil in the area.

The findings of the study have been published in the journal Current Science which suggested that the analysis of the fragments of the meteorite showed that they had a regolith-like appearance and were nearly identical in both areas. This indicates that the fragments most likely belonged to a single meteorite that broke apart while passing through the Earth’s atmosphere. However, this is the second reported aubrite fall in India, after the Bustee falls in 1852 at Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh.

“The similar and unique characteristics of highly reducing conditions on the surface of planet Mercury and aubrite often suggest that enstatite meteorites are the potential petrologic and geochemical analogs of planet Mercury, even though we do not have any known Mercurian samples in our collection,” the study added. Hence, this will be important for understanding the planetary processes in the future.

What are aubrites

NASA explained that the aubrites are a unique group of differentiated meteorites that formed on asteroids with oxygen fugacities. Aubrites are a type of differentiated meteorite that are rich in enstatite and are believed to have originated from the inner asteroid belt. They were formed under highly reduced conditions and are characterized by very low oxygen fugacities.

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