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What happened to the solar system 500 Myr ago?

About 470 million years ago, minerals from coarse micrometeorites fallen on Earth was captured in limestone. They have now been recovered by a group of researchers and show some unexpected results of very high scientific value.
Micrometeorite (magnification). Photo: Birger Schmitz
Micrometeorite (magnification). Photo: Birger Schmitz

The micrometeorites are very different in mineral composition compared with more recent meteorites. Until this finding, researchers have believed the solar system to be stable with no change in meteorite mineral composition. Now the new findings open up for new knowledge the solar system history might be rewritten.

Birger Schmitz, Lund University, revealed last summer that he had discovered a first "extinct" meteorite. The finiding was made outside Lidköping, Sweden, and named Österplana 065. Researchers opened the hypothesis that possibly the composition of the meteorite flux was very different 470 million years ago, compared to today. Now, collaborating researchers from three universities have found several micrometeorites equally old as the first one at a site in Russia.

This confirms the hypothesis, and Birger Schmitz says this makes it possible to reconstruct late history of the solar system. He is convinced that something fundamental happended to the solar system about 500 years ago, but what is yet unknown.

Several LUCCI-affiliated authors are involved in the publication.

 

 

Sources:

Lund University: Read full press release and watch video

Nature: Heck, P. R. et al. Rare meteorites common in the Ordovician period. Nat. Astron. 1, 0035 (2017).

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