Meteorite diamonds may have come from "long-lost planet"

Roughly 4 kg of the meteorite were found during expeditions led by the University of Khartoum, and several (280) small (1 - 10 cm) and thinly-crusted stones have been recovered from the large strewn field. Because diamonds are forged at vast pressures and temperatures, typically deep inside the planet, the various materials that get trapped inside are quite hard to get a hold of at the surface - and diamonds can preserve them for billions of years. According to the team, the small fragments of the meteorite diamonds could be connected to a long-lost planet that once existed in our solar system.

Asteroid TC3, as it's called, may be the first pristine chunk of a "lost" planet ever recovered on Earth.

Part of the meteorite that landed at the Nubian Desert in Sudan in 2008. They gathered the tiny pieces and cataloged them into Almahata Sitta, a collection of rare meteorites that often carry nano-sized diamonds.

Found diamonds from ureilites Almahata Sitta originated inside the proto-planet the size of Mars or mercury.

A scattering of diamonds discovered in a meteorite that landed in the Nubian desert ten years ago points to the existence of a lost planet that used to wander the early solar system.

The study was published online April 17 in the journal Nature Communications. "We don't have much evidence from those specific planetary embryos". Eventually those bodies collided and flung material out into space.

Diamonds can form in a few ways, including in the high-temperature and high-pressure environments similar to those found deep inside earth.

The planet was slightly bigger than Mercury and was destroyed in a comic collision as these valuable diamonds give scientists a glimpse into the formation of planets. However, scientists made a decision to volunteer and search for fragments that came from the asteroid, and they were able to collect more than 600 pieces of the meteorite.

Therefore, the meteorite diamonds reveal information about their parent protoplanet.

A colorized image shows the diamond phase (blue), inclusions (yellow) and the graphite region.

"We discovered inlays of chromite, phosphate, iron sulfide, and nickel inside the diamond, with a composition and morphology that can only be explained if they were formed at pressures higher than 20 gigapascals", explains Nabiei.

Farhang Nabiei, a materials scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and his colleagues said the measurements provide "the first compelling evidence for such a large body that has since disappeared".

Rest either went on to form bigger planetary bodies or ended up being destroyed by the sun or ejected out of the solar system.

  • Joey Payne