August 15, 2022


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Chelyabinsk meteorite with unusual carbon crystals.  How did they get there?

Chelyabinsk meteorite with unusual carbon crystals. How did they get there?

The Chelyabinsk meteorite hides more secrets than we thought. In its remains, tiny carbon crystals of unusual shapes, structurally similar to graphite, were discovered.

The Chelyabinsk meteorite crossed the sky over Chelyabinsk in the Southern Urals on February 15, 2013. Although the rock itself did not survive entering Earth’s atmosphere, its remnants in the form of dust do. Russian scientists, led by Sergei Taskev and Vladimir Khofailo, confirmed that the dust from the Chelyabinsk meteorite contains fine carbon crystals of unusual shape.

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It should be noted that meteorite dust forms on the surface of meteorites when exposed to high temperatures and extreme pressure. The Chelyabinsk meteorite was unique due to its size (17-20 m) and the power of the explosion
And the destruction it caused (approximately 1,500 wounded). And most interestingly, his remains fell on the snow-covered soil, and the dust itself remained almost untouched.

For the first time in history, Russian scientists observed microcrystals of carbon several micrometers in size in dust. They checked them out with
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) found that they take on various unusual shapes: closed shells, semi-spheres, and hexagonal rods. Never seen before.

Meteor dust from Chelyabinsk

Further analysis using Raman spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography showed that the carbon crystals were, in fact, oddly shaped forms of graphite. But this was not the end of the surprises.

The simulations performed showed that these structures were generated as a result of repeatedly adding layers of graphene to closed carbon cores. Possible ‘suspects’ found – globular fullerenes (Buckminster fullerenes), C60, and more complex cyclic hexagons (C18h.12). what does that mean? It turns out that the processes responsible for the formation of microcrystals in meteorites are not yet fully understood. There may be more things in the world that are misclassified. Details are found in The European Physical Journal Plus.

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