Pieces of asteroids and planets that fall to Earth as meteorites reveal the processes at work deep inside planets-including our own.
The farmland near Brenham, Kansas, is flat and almost entirely free of rocks-yet farmers in the 1880s occasionally bent their plows on mysterious metallic objects. Homesteader Eliza Kimberly noticed that the odd black rocks resembled a meteorite she had seen as a schoolgirl in Iowa. Despite teasing from her husband and neighbors, she collected a large pile of the "iron rocks," and after five years of letter-writing she convinced a scientist to look at them. They were indeed meteorites.
The remarkable Brenham meteorite fragments contain gemlike olivine crystals embedded in an iron-nickel alloy. Billions of years ago, this rock and iron mixture formed when a large asteroid melted and separated into an iron core and a rocky crust. Meteorites that come from the deep interiors of such asteroids provide tantalizing clues about the interior of Earth and other planets.
Keywords: Asteroids, Astrogeology, Astrophysics, Iron-nickel alloys, Meteorites, Iron, Olivine, Planets--Geology
The Brenham meteorite scattered more than three tons of meteorite fragments in the vicinity of Brenham, Kansas.
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Why have no meteorites been found from an asteroid's olivine mantle? Here are a few theories.
Without Earth's molten outer core, life as we know it would not exist.
In the metal cores of partially molten asteroids, iron-nickel alloys crystallized in a distinctive pattern known as the Widmanstätten structure.
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Pieces of Mars that fall to Earth as meteorites gave us our first samples of the surface of another planet.
Falling just a short distance from New York City, this meteorite became famous for its unusual landing.