Diamonds provide the evidence of a lost planet that once roamed our solar system. Study found.
According to a study published on Tuesday, fragments of a meteorite that fell on the Earth more than a decade ago provided compelling evidence of a lost planet that once roamed our solar system.
Researchers from Switzerland, France and Germany examined diamonds found inside the Almahata Sitta meteorite and concluded they were most likely formed by a proto-planet at least 4.55 billion years ago.
‘Philippe Gillet’ the study co-authors said that the diamond in the meteorite, which crashed in Sudan’s Nubian Desert in October 2008, has tiny crystals inside them (meteorite) that would have required great pressure to form.
“We demonstrate that these large diamonds cannot be the result of a shock but rather of growth that has taken place within a planet,” Phillipe Gillet told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Switzerland.
Research calculated a pressure of 200,000 bar (2.9 million psi) would be needed to form such diamonds, suggesting the mystery planet was at least as big as Mercury or possibly even Mars, said Phillipe Gillet, a planetary scientist at the Federal Institute Of Technology In Lausanne.
Scientists said that they have long theorized that the early solar system once contained many more planets — some of which were likely little more than a mass of molten magma. One of these embryo planets — Dubbed Theia — is believed to have slammed into a young Earth, ejecting a large amount of debris that later formed the moon.
“What we’re claiming here,” said Phillipe Gillet, “is that we have in our hands a remnant of this first generation of planets that are missing today because they were destroyed or incorporated in a bigger planet.”
Addi Bischoff, a meteorite expert at the University of Muenster, Germany, said the methods used for the study were sound and the conclusion was plausible. But further evidence of sustained high pressure would be expected to be found in the minerals surrounding the diamonds, he said.
But Addi Bischoff wasn’t involved in the study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications.
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Read The Original Publication at “A large planetary body inferred from diamond inclusions in a ureilite meteorite,” Nature Communications, volume 9, Article number: 1327 (2018) doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03808-6.