A small piece of rock found in a field in Gloucestershire in the west of England turned out to be an ancient meteorite. Scientists estimate its age at 4.6 billion years. This is the oldest meteorite found on Earth today. The age of the planet itself is 4.54 billion years, which means that it is a meteorite of the Earth itself. The find was announced in a press release from Loughborough University.
According to scientists, this small coal-colored stone, discovered by Loughborough resident Derek Robson of the Eastern Angrophysical Research Organization (EAARO), is a piece of space debris left after the formation of planets in the solar system. It is believed that he came to Earth from the asteroid belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Researchers at Loughborough University, along with colleagues from EAARO, are currently studying the structure and composition of a meteorite named Winchcombe after the village near which it was discovered. Scientists hope to find answers to questions about the processes that took place in the early solar system, and possibly about the origin and life of the Earth.
They use methods such as electron microscopy to study surface morphology, as well as vibrational spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, which provide detailed information about the crystal structure, chemical phases and molecular interactions of substances.
According to the authors, the meteorite consists of particles and dust, which have never been subjected to strong cosmic collisions, ie did not participate in the formation of protoplanetary bodies.