Rare Mineral Discovered in Ancient Meteorite Impact Crater
A rare mineral known from just three massive meteorite impacts has now turned up in a Wisconsin crater.
Researchers discovered the mineral, called reidite, at the Rock Elm impact structure in western Wisconsin. Reidite is a dense form of zircon, one of the hardiest minerals on Earth.
This is the oldest reidite ever found,, said Aaron Cavosie, a geochemist at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. The Rock Elm meteorite crater is 450 million to 470 million years old, he said.
Scientists first discovered the unusual high-pressure zircon in a laboratory in the 1960s. Reidite was finally identified in nature starting in 2001, at three impact sites: the Chesapeake Bay Crater in Virginia, Ries Crater in Germany and Xiuyan Crater in China.
The reidite was an utterly unexpected find for Cavosie, who was collecting zircons to establish a more precise impact age for the Rock Elm crater. “No one in their right mind would have looked for reidite in sandstone,” he told Live Science. The Rock Elm crater was gouged out of carbonate rocks and sandstone that contains tiny fragments of quartz and zircon. The earlier reidite discoveries were all in impact melt breccias — a mix of rock that melted and cooled into glass during the impact and unmelted rock fragments. [Crash! The 10 Biggest Impact Craters on Earth]
“I work with the oldest zircons on Earth, and reidite is so much rarer than 4.4-billion-year-old zircons,” said Cavosie, who presented the results of the research Oct. 22 at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Zircon morphs into reidite when shock waves from meteorite impacts hike up pressures and temperatures to extreme levels, equal to those deep inside the Earth where diamonds form. The pressure makes minerals tightly repack their molecules into denser crystal structures. Reidite has the same composition as regular zircon but is about 10 percent denser.
The specks of reidite Cavosie spotted are smaller than the diameter of a human hair and are scattered within “shocked” zircons that were fractured during the Rock Elm impact. But each mineral reflects light differently, which caught Cavosie’s eye as he examined slices of rock under a powerful microscope. Working with colleagues in Australia, Cavosie confirmed the presence of reidite by zapping the tiny zircons with electrons. Every mineral scatters electrons in a unique way, and the tests confirmed the presence of reidite, Cavosie announced in Vancouver.
“This is a cool find in the realm of high-pressure metamorphism,” Cavosie said.
It takes incredible pressure to transform zircon into reidite, so the mineral’s presence means the Rock Elm crater underwent much higher shock pressures than originally thought, Cavosie said. The transition to reidite takes place anywhere between 30 and 80 gigapascals. Earlier pressure estimates from the crater’s shocked quartz topped out at 10 gigapascals, according to previous studies.
Any impact crater carved from sandstone will also have zircon, and Cavosie now thinks reidite is likely more common than scientists previously thought. “It’s now time to look for it where we never would have anticipated finding it,” he said.
25 year shelf life food, 30 day food storage, 30 day supply emergency food, 30 days food supply, about food safety, about gmo, about monsanto, augason farms, bucket food, bug out bag, bug out bag supplies, bugout bag supplies food, bugout bag survival kit, bugout gear, bulk emergency food, bulk food survival, Camping food, Category_News, dangers of gmo, disaster food, disaster kit, disaster kit food, disaster preparedness, disaster preparedness food, disaster supplies, doomsday food, dry food emergency, earthquake food, earthquake food supplies, earthquake kit, earthquake kit food, earthquake survival food kit, earthquake survival kit, earthquake survival kit food, emergency, emergency bars, emergency food, emergency food 30 day, emergency food augason farms, emergency food bar, emergency food bucket, emergency food gluten free, emergency food kit, emergency food kits, emergency food ration, emergency food storage, emergency food supply, emergency food supply 30 day, emergency food supply family, emergency food supply gluten free, emergency food supply wise company, emergency food survival, emergency food tablets, emergency food tabs, emergency food wise, emergency food wise company, emergency foods, emergency foods supply, emergency gluten free food, emergency kit, emergency kit food, emergency meal, emergency meals, emergency preparedness, emergency preparedness food, emergency preparedness kit, emergency ration, emergency ration bars, emergency ration food, emergency rations, emergency rations long shelf life, emergency ready eat meals, emergency supplies, emergency supplies food, emergency supply, emergency survival food supply, emergency survival kit, emergency survival rations, emergency tabs, emergency vegan food supply, emergency water, emergency water pouches, family survival food, fda gmo, food 30 day supply, food bars emergency, food bars survival, food emergency kit, food emergency supply, food gmo, food ration, food storage 30 day, food storage supply, food supply 1 year, food supply 30 day, food supply emergency, food supply survival, food survival, food tablets, food tablets survival, food tabs, foods with gmo, freeze dried food, freeze dried food survival, genetic engineering, genetic roulette, genetically, genetically altered foods, genetically modified food, genetically modified food crops, genetically modified soy, gluten free emergency food, gluten free emergency food supply, gluten free mre meals, gluten free survival food, gmo, gmo canola, gmo corn, gmo cotton, gmo cottonseed, gmo feed, gmo food in america, gmo food products, gmo food safety, gmo health, gmo in food, gmo soy, gmo soybeans, gmo studies, gmo sugarbeets, gmo testing, gmos environment, gmos food, gmos in food, health and safety, health risks of gmos, healthy diet, healthy eating, high calorie food bars emergency, high calorie survival bars, Hiking food, Jeffrey M. Smith, Jeffrey Smith, label gmos, life straw, lifeboat rations, long shelf life food, long term food, long term food storage, long term food supply, long term storage food, mainstay emergency food, meal bars survival, meal ready to eat, mercola, military food, military meal, military ration, military rations, military surplus food 2020 emergency meal complete camping prep tablets year supply foods american replacement tab mre pack date buy tablet army bulk ration gluten packs vegan, monsanto, mountain food, mountain house, mountain house food, mountain house meals, mre, mre gluten free, mre meal, mre meals, mre meals vegan, mre's meals ready eat, mre's meals ready to eat, mres, natural news, no gmos, non gmo ingredients, non perishable food, non-gmo, non-gmo shopping guide, one month food supply, patriot food survival, prepper food, prepper food supplies, preppers food, preppers food supplies, ration, ration bars, ration bars emergency, ration food, ration survival, rations 30 day, rations mre, risks of gmo, roundup ready, safety in food, safety of genetically modified foods, Seeds of Deception, shop non-gmo, sos emergency ration, survival, survival backpack, survival backpacks, survival bars, survival dry food, survival emergency food, survival food, survival food 25 year, survival food 25 year shelf life, survival food bars, survival food kit, survival food ration, survival food tablets, survival food tabs, survival foods, survival gear, survival gear and equipment, survival kit, survival kit food, survival kits, survival meals, survival ration, survival rations, survival storage food, survival tab, survival tablets, survival tabs, survival tabs 60 day, survival tabs emergency food, survival water, the survival tabs emergency food, tipping point network, vegan emergency food, vegetarian emergency food, vegetarian emergency food supply, water for emergencies, water purification tablets, what are gmo, what is gmo, why gmo, wise company emergency food, wise company food, wise food, wise foods emergency food, year supply food