Earth's most abundant mineral named as Bridgmanite

Dec 1, 2014 12:04 IST

The most abundant mineral on earth was named as Bridgmanite by a team of American geologists. The findings were published in the Journal Science on 28 November 2014.

The team of American geologists extracted a sample large enough to analyse the most abundant mineral that allowed them to name it as bridgmanite.

The mineral is named in honour of Percy Bridgman, a physicist who won the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physics for his fundamental contributions to high-pressure physics. Percy Bridgman pioneered the use of high pressure experiments to understand how many geological formations can come about.

Up to now, the mineral was referred to as perovskite because according to rules set down by the International Mineralogical Association, a mineral cannot be given a formal name until a specimen has been found that can be examined first hand.

The study
The researchers looked at a meteorite that had fallen inside Australia in 1879 as a likely candidate for samples. They used a test that involved the use of a micro-focused X-ray beam in conjunction with electron microscopy.

The researchers noted that the sample had more sodium and ferric acid than had been expected.

Their discovery is expected to aid future geological research and could offer clues about what goes on when celestial bodies collide and potentially also about the formation of the universe.

Bridgmanite
• Bridgmanite makes up about 70 percent of the earth's lower mantle and 38 percent of the total volume of earth.
• It is made up of high-density magnesium iron silicate.
• The lower mantle which starts at 670 km under the crust is difficult to reach for samples.

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