FEB 19, 2016 4:23 PM PST

Scientists Believe Iron Meteorites Are Buried Under Antarctica

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Meteorites that strike the Earth are composed of all kinds of elements, including metals. Among one of the more common metals found in meteorites is iron. One of the best places to go meteorite hunting is Antarctica because it’s a place that is mostly undisturbed and the dark rocks appear easily against the white icy ground.
 

Researchers believe there is a layer of iron meteorites under Antarctica.


Scientists now believe that the reason why many of the meteorites found in Antarctica are found to lack the same iron composition when compared to meteorites found elsewhere in the world has to do with the fact that the Sun heats up the iron metal in the meteorite.
 
This, in turn, allows the heated metal to melt through the iced layer of Antarctica’s floor, and allows the iron to essentially bury itself deep underneath the icy continent, as a study posted in Nature explains.
 
The scientists have performed preliminary testing of the theory by placing two meteorites of different composition in a controlled testing chamber. After heating both up, they found that both the rock and iron meteorites melted through ice, but iron meteorites sink significantly faster than rock ones do.
 
Researchers in the field are now looking to head out to Antarctica and look for iron meteorite samples underneath the continent’s surface. According to the theory, the iron stones should definitely be there; it’s just a matter of finding them.
 
Why so much enthusiasm to find them? – These small meteorites are composed of elements that had the potential to form a planet, given the right circumstances, but because they were never given the right environment, they remained in pieces. Studying these meteorites can help us understand our universe and its formation.

Source: Nature

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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