Almost a decade ago, a meteorite entered the atmosphere of the Earth, where it exploded and got scattered in the Nubian desert of Sudan. But the most exciting thing about this space rock is it contains tiny fragments of diamonds — yes, diamonds!
This meteorite named Almahata Sitta belongs to a class of rocks known as Ureilites — parts of a giant planet which is believed to have been catastrophically destroyed by a collision before the birth of our solar system.
A study published in the journal Nature Communications reports that Almahata Sitta also came from a parent “proto-planet” as large as Mars which existed billions of years ago.
Farhang Nabiei, lead author of the paper, believes that this 4.5 billion-year-old relic comes from an era about which we don’t have any knowledge and a planet that no longer exists.
Researchers suspect that diamond crystals in the meteorite may have formed under very high temperatures and pressure in the innermost chambers of its parent planet, the same way diamonds do on Earth.
And later on, they were fragmented into smaller parts due to shock waves caused by a huge impact. But the rigid and nonreactive nature of diamonds grants the ability to preserve the surrounding chemical environment at the time of its formation.
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Thus analyzing its chemical inclusion will help scientists to find out more about the proto-planet it came from and perhaps solve some of the mysteries about the origins of our own planet.