Discovering Wassonite

Co-researchers from the US, South Korea and Japan found a new mineral. Image: Shutterstock.

On December 1969, the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition found several meteorites in the Yamato Mountains in Antarctica.

Forty years after later, meteorite Yamato 691 continues to be studied. The 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite, which might have been part of an asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter, contains “Wassonite”, a new mineral.

NASA space scientist Keiko Nakamura-Messenger announced yesterday the discovery of this mineral formed from only two elements, sulfur and titanium, and with a unique crystal structure that, as Nakamura suggested “has not been previously observed in nature.”

The mineral, which received its name in honor of professor John T. Wasson, from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA, has been added to the 4,500 list approved by the International Mineralogical Association.

According to Nakamura: “More secrets of the universe can be revealed from these specimens using 21st century nano-technology.”

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