Calif. meteorite reveals strange composition

12/23/2012 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

Small pieces of a carbon-rich meteorite that exploded in April over Sutter's Mill, Calif., have shown traces of oldhamite, a mineral sensitive to human breath that scientists did not expect to find in a meteorite that came from so far away in the solar system. The mixture of oldhamite with other substances "indicates there were collisions happening between really primitive materials and really evolved materials," said NASA astronomer Peter Jenniskens, who led a study published Friday in the journal Science. Jenniskens found small bits of the meteorite, which entered the atmosphere at almost 64,000 mph before breaking up.

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