A fluke is a rare, rare-earth mineral which has only been discovered in the past decade.
It’s the result of rare interactions between Earth and space.
A flucht is a tiny fragment of a rare earth mineral, which are made of iron oxide and nickel.
But they’re found in the Earth’s crust and are very rare.
This particular fluke had been isolated in the US for a decade.
“We found this in a very small amount of ore,” says Dr Andrew Hirst.
“This is the first fluke we’ve ever found in a natural sample of the Earth.”
Dr Hirst says he’s been looking for flukes for many years, but he never had a chance to find them.
“There’s only been a handful of flukes that have been found in our geological record, and it’s been very rare,” he says.
“The fact that we found one was quite exciting.”
He says the fluke has “very unique characteristics”, which means that its presence is very unlikely to be explained by the normal workings of the planet.
“If we found this fluke in the wild, I’d be absolutely certain that it was there,” he said.
“It’s very rare and it is so unique that if you do find one, you’d be very surprised if it’s not one of the flukes we find in nature.”
It’s possible that the fluchts might have been created by the collision of a comet or asteroid with the Earth.
The fluke was found in an asteroid field in the Nevada desert, where the asteroid passed through the surface of the asteroid.
“That’s when it’s the right place to start looking for other rare earth minerals, so I’m hoping that it could provide us with a way to understand how the Earth formed,” Dr Hutton says.
The researchers also plan to study the flukts to find out more about the properties of the mineral, such as its chemical composition.
“What we’re trying to do is try to find some of the underlying mechanisms that may explain why this is such a rare mineral,” he adds.
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One of the key things that we’re looking for is how these elements have evolved in space.”
You can find out what’s happening in the world and how we live by watching the ABC’s ScienceNOW.
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