New York, Nov 29 (IANS) The most abundant mineral on earth that has remained nameless until now will be called Bridgmanite.
After a team of American geologists were able to extract a sample large enough to analyse from a meteorite, Bridgmanite was named officially.
Up to now, it was referred to as perovskite because according to rules set down by the International Mineralogical Association, a mineral cannot be given a formal name until a specimen has been found that can be examined first hand.
The new name is in honour of Percy Bridgman, a pioneer in the use of high pressure experiments to better understand how many geological formations come about
Bridgmanite makes up about 70 percent of the earth’s lower mantle and 38 percent of the total volume of earth. It is made up of high-density magnesium iron silicate.
The lower mantle which starts at 670 kms under the crust is difficult to reach for samples.
The researchers looked at a meteorite that had fallen inside Australia in 1879 as a likely candidate for samples, and found what they were looking for.
Scientists had looked at likely candidate meteorites in the past, but the technique (electron diffraction) they used to look for a bit of perovskite wound up causing it to be destroyed.
This time the team used a different, less destructive test – one that involved the use of a micro-focused X-ray beam in conjunction with electron microscopy.
The researchers noted that the sample had more sodium and ferric acid than had been expected.
Their discovery is expected to aid future geological research and could offer clues about what goes on when celestial bodies collide, and potentially also about the formation of the universe.
The research paper was published in the journal Science.