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Posted by / 19-Oct-2020 13:26

SUMMARY: Primitive meteorites are remnants of the solar nebula, containing intermixed rock and metal flakes.Processed meteorites are fragments of larger asteroids and therefore can be metallic like a planet's core or rocky like its mantle or crust.The precise decay rate of radioactive elements is used as a clock: the number of daughter products in one rock indicates its age.

Primitive meteorites appear to be remnants of the birth of the solar system.“The Sahara was green 5,000 years ago, but the Atacama has been arid for at least 7 million years and maybe as long as 20 million years.” The team subjected a sample of 54 rocky meteorites to cosmogenic age dating using the chlorine-36 isotope and found that the oldest samples fell to Earth between 1 and 2 million years ago, with a mean age of 710,000 years, making this the oldest meteorite collection found to date on Earth’s surface.“This confirms the long-term, multi-million-year stability of the Atacama Desert surfaces and offers a unique opportunity to study the meteorite flux to Earth and meteorite weathering over the million-year time scale,” the team wrote in .Each year, millions of meteors intersect with Earth.Most of these burn up on entering our atmosphere, but some larger space rocks survive the journey and land on Earth’s surface.

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A new study looking at a sampling of more than 300 meteorites collected in Chile’s Atacama Desert is shedding some light on the rate and variety of meteor strikes over the past 2 million years.

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