Rare mineral found in a Wisconsin crater

Rare mineral found in a Wisconsin crater
With support from the NASA Astrobiology Program, Cavosie brought students from the University of Puerto Rico to study outcrops at the Rock Elm meteorite impact structure. Reidite was found in the samples they collected. Credit: Aaron Cavosie

Scientists have discovered one of the rarest minerals on Earth in a Wisconsin impact crater.

Aaron Cavosie of the University of Puerto Rico, and member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute Team at the University of Wisconsin, brought students to an impact site in Rock Elm, Wisconsin to collect samples. In those samples, Cavosie and colleagues discovered the mineral reidite, making Rock Elm the fourth site on Earth where the mineral has been found in nature.

Reidite is created at high pressures and was first identified in the laboratory in the 1960s. The conditions in which reidite forms have been well-constrained by experiments in the lab but, prior to Rock Elm, it was only found naturally in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure (Virginia), the Ries Crater (Germany), and the Xiuyan Crater (China).

The Rock Elm structure is 6.5 kilometers in diameter and was formed during the Middle Ordovician. This means that the reidite found at Rock Elm is at least 450 million years old, making it the oldest preserved reidite yet discovered.

Another important aspect of the research is that the reidite was found in sandstone – the first time the mineral was spotted in this type of rock. There are many other impact structures that have been formed in sandstone, and its possible that a re-examination of these sites could reveal more reidite.

"I get the sense that, because reidite had never been found in this kind of rock, if something's never found there, your not going to go look for it purposefully," said Cavosie in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio. "Now that we've identified this recorder of even far more extreme impact conditions than what was known previously at Rock Elm, that tool can be applied to many, many other localities to try to recreate the impact conditions and better understand the effects on the surface environments of some of these impacts."

A view of the Rock Elm crater. Standing at the south rim of the crater, one can see evidence of uplift, basin fill and the breadth of the depression. Credit: elGeokid (YouTube)

Wisconsin Public Radio produced an interview with Aaron Cavosie and Bill Cordua of UW-River Falls, who discovered the Rock Elm disturbance. To listen to the show, visit: www.wpr.org/listen/682916 - See more at: www.astrobio.net/news-brief/ra … sthash.Mpp66Tjz.dpuf

Explore further

Crater discovery's impact echoes still today

More information: The initial findings were presented at the 2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver: gsa.confex.com/gsa/2014AM/fina … /abstract_244685.htm
Source: Astrobio.net

This story is republished courtesy of NASA's Astrobiology Magazine. Explore the Earth and beyond at www.astrobio.net .

Citation: Rare mineral found in a Wisconsin crater (2015, January 14) retrieved 19 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-01-rare-mineral-wisconsin-crater.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jan 14, 2015
how cool is this! what an excellent video. a geologist with a teachers mind. great explanation. would have liked some video of the reddite . too bad.

Jan 14, 2015
Only poor geologists take everything for granite....

Jan 14, 2015
This is a material made of of Zirconium, Silicon and Oxygen and occurs ONLY in a very specific pressure and hence temperature. So the reason that this mineral only is found on a few impact craters is because Zirconium is an element that while not exactly scarce is scarce in significant quantities to be found as an ore. And impacts that are neither to hard nor too soft will form it. The fact that it was found in the sandstone would indicate to me that the overlying mantle was washed away with the regular rises and falls in sea level connected to the Ice Ages.

Oh, wait - they're calling that man made global warming these days.

Jan 15, 2015
Oh, wait - they're calling that man made global warming these days.
No modern climate scientist has ever claimed that Earth doesn't experience erosion and periodic climate change, you dolt.

Jan 15, 2015
...was washed away with the regular rises and falls in sea level connected to the Ice Ages.

Oh, wait - they're calling that man made global warming these days.

I'm sure not one scientist ever thought of considering things like the Ice Ages, the Sun, and all sorts of other natural events... Never, why would they?! Certainly only you have come to this conclusion with a few others.

Now I've given the troll what it needs.
BTW, I agree, that was a very well done video. I wouldn't mind seeing more videos done by the same person.

Jan 15, 2015
Wake claimed/implied
The fact that it was found in the sandstone would indicate to me that the overlying mantle was washed away with the regular rises and falls in sea level connected to the Ice Ages.
Oh, wait - they're calling that man made global warming these days.
Why are u so feebly ignoring period, is this a reflection upon the potential depth of your intellect ?

Inappropriate to lurch in some tangential sarcastic claim without foundation on a science site where its considered mature to offer evidence, r u ill or disabled ?


Did U not complete high school & learn some basic maths re "rates of changes" and ever taught to apply it to physics & material properties ?


Jan 15, 2015
Vyper offered
I have spent 10 years trying to find out what I found is a huge crater who can look at my examples and need some help with magnetic gravity maps of this area. JPLs J Mosh says he dont think so but the gravity map supports a large anomaly at its uplifted area
Best things you can do are:-

1. Determine GPS coordinates ?
2. Any site surveys, local council authorities etc ?
3. If in USA contact USGS in politely worded email & follow up with efficient phone call

Why not post the coordinates here, I can't see people being happy with your choice of posting your email address unless you have moderately advanced spam filter tools & relay/port intervention etc. Best to research those local groups closeby to garner interest & offer a social incentive ie can u camp on the spot & borrow a geiger counter and contact eg universities, colleges of people who live in the area as well to get a local community feel...

Can U link us to the gravity anomaly map ?

Jan 19, 2015
Moron scientists should wear condoms....

Trolls shouldn't post.

Jan 20, 2015
Lex Talonis with the VERY best he could do
Moron scientists should wear condoms....
Right, so any fruits of science you dismiss without consideration or intelligence ?

Food safety re microbiology, pathogens, fungi
control systems, fuel efficiency, ie CARs !
communications, internet, mobile phones, satellite sensing etc
The list is too long for your limited angry brain space Lex Talonis

Y do u bother, U are U even here ?

U could well be sued for wasting space & time for those actually progressing the human condition... shakes head !

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more