- A meteorite discovered in Algeria’s Erg Chech desert, known as Erg Chech 002, is believed to be a remnant of an ancient planet, predating Earth.
- Erg Chech 002’s unique igneous composition suggests it was formed through volcanic processes, hinting at its connection to a protoplanet’s crust.
- Classified as an achondrite, Erg Chech 002 is a rare find among meteorites, with only 3,179 of its kind recorded on Earth.
- Radioactive dating indicates that this meteorite is a staggering 4.565 billion years old, making it older than our planet.
- Spectral analysis showed no resemblance between Erg Chech 002 and asteroids in our solar system, suggesting its protoplanet’s absence.
In a remarkable discovery, a meteorite unearthed in the desolate Erg Chech desert of Algeria has unveiled secrets of an ancient world. Named Erg Chech 002, this celestial fragment has captivated scientists worldwide, offering a glimpse into a planet older than Earth itself.
What sets Erg Chech 002 apart from typical meteorites is its igneous composition, suggesting a volcanic origin. This revelation hints at its potential connection to a protoplanet, a miniature or dwarf planet in scientific terms. Classified as an achondrite, Erg Chech 002 is a rare find among meteorites, with just 3,179 of its kind documented in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database among thousands discovered on Earth.
What truly astonishes researchers is its age. By examining the radioactive decay of aluminum and magnesium isotopes within the meteorite, scientists estimate its formation to be an astonishing 4.565 billion years ago, surpassing the age of Earth, which is approximately 4.54 billion years old. This makes Erg Chech 002 the oldest magmatic rock ever studied.
As detailed in the research team’s report, this discovery offers unprecedented insights into the formation of ancient protoplanet crusts, shedding light on the distant past of our solar system. Yet, intriguingly, spectral analysis reveals that Erg Chech 002 bears no resemblance to asteroids within our solar system. This suggests that its parent protoplanet, or the type of protoplanet from which it originated, no longer exists in our celestial neighborhood.
According to Science Alert, it is plausible that Erg Chech 002’s protoplanetary home was absorbed into other celestial bodies. This meteorite’s age and its proximity in age to Earth raise the fascinating possibility that remnants from its protoplanet might have played a role in shaping our own planet. Erg Chech 002 thus stands as a cosmic time capsule, offering tantalizing clues about the ancient history of our solar system.