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Friday 21 June 2024

automatic translation

Friday 21 June 2024

automatic translation

    Searching for cosmic glass in the Australian Outback

    The evolution of the planets is a topic of extreme fascination for researchers committed to solving the mysteries of the universe and the incredible interactions between the Earth and the Sky. And the glass can help unravel such enigmas, or at least this is the widespread thought among scientists studying samples collected in the heart of the Australian Outback, more precisely at the site of the Henbury crater.

    Meteorite glass?

    It is a natural glass that was formed in extreme conditions: thanks to the high-speed collision of meteorites with the earth's soil. It is precisely around an impact site dating back about 5.000 years ago that researchers have found samples of glass, very similar to volcanic glass, produced through the heat generated by the impact. 

    To understand the composition of this material, scientists heated the glass until it became plasma, and then studied it through a mass spectrometer. The result? Such samples contain up to 10% meteoritic material, a huge percentage if we consider that in the molten rocks of Chicxulub, the gigantic asteroid that hit the Mexico and which is believed to have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs, less than 0,1% is recorded.

    The glass from Henbury Crater contains extremely rare substances in the rocks of the Earth's surface, in fact high levels of iron, nickel, cobalt, chromium, iridium and other platinum group elements have been found, which betray a cosmic origin. 

    Research perspectives

    These findings open new prospectives with respect to understanding extraterrestrial materials. And they subvert horizons. In fact, it is worth observing the earth to discover something about the sky. Ultimately, this seems to be the lesson that emerges from the arid and surprising terrains of the Australian Outback which, with their natural glass, offer a still partially unexplored archive of information. 


    You may also be interested in: The glass illuminates the dark side of the moon
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