“We have discovered 500,000 to 600,000 minerals in the lab, but fewer than 6,000 that nature’s done itself,” Stuart Mills, Museums Victoria’s senior curator of geosciences, told Melbourne newspaper The Age
It’s named for Ed R.D. Scott, a cosmochemist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and pioneering meteorite researcher. He first identified the unique iron carbide
in 1971 while studying the meteorite, but technology hadn’t advanced far enough for him to characterize its structure.
It might have formed in space
Researchers Chi Ma of Caltech and Alan Rubin at UCLA examined a slab of the meteorite and were surprised to find edscottite under an electron microscope.
Just how it formed is still unclear. Geoffrey Bonning, a planetary scientist at the Australian National University who was not involved with the study, speculated to The Age that it was blasted out of the core of another planet.
The hypothetical planet, he said, formed when asteroids clumped into one big planet. The planet heated up during its formation, and hot metal dripped into its core.
“This meteorite had an abundance of carbon in it. And as it slowly cooled down, the iron and carbon came together and formed this mineral,” Mills said.
Eventually, the planet might’ve been struck by another astronomical body and destroyed, flinging the debris across the solar system.
The debris, Bonning posited, became the Wedderburn meteorite. The edscottite might’ve been created when all that metal heated up in the former planet.