Unusual Microcrystals Discovered in Meteorite Dust

A work on the morphology and simulations of the advent of these crystals from Chelyabinsk State University in Russia, led by Sergey Taskaev and Vladimir Khovaylo, was published in a Physical Journal.

A meteor’s surface develops meteorite dust as it enters the atmosphere and is subjected to very high temperatures and tremendous pressures. 

The Chelyabinsk meteor was exceptional in terms of its size, the intensity of the air burst it created as it exploded, the size of the biggest pieces that fell to Earth, and the destruction it caused.

More significantly, it fell on icy ground, which helped hold the dust in place. Under a light microscope, Taskaev, Khovaylo, and his Team discovered micrometre-sized carbon microcrystals in this dust.

More significantly, it fell on icy ground, which helped hold the dust in place. Under a light microscope, Taskaev, Khovaylo, and his Team discovered micrometre-sized carbon microcrystals in this dust.

They, therefore, examined the same crystals using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and found that they took up a variety of unusual shapes: closed, quasi-spherical shells and hexagonal rods.

Further analysis using Raman spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography showed that the carbon crystals were, actually, exotically-shaped forms of graphite.

They found microcrystal nuclei: circular fullerene and a more complicated hexacyclooctadecane. In conclusion, they argued that identifying these crystals might aid in the profiling of past meteorites.