Pre­served in glass

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY -

Frag­ments of leaves and or­ganic mat­ter be­long­ing to pre­his­toric pe­ri­ods have been found in Ar­gentina. The frag­ments are trapped in­side glass which was formed 6,000-9,000 mil­lion years ago when as­ter­oids crashed on Earth. Soils in east­ern Ar­gentina are dot­ted with such im­pact glass and one of these im­pacts, around 3 mil­lion years ago, co­in­cides with the dis­ap­pear­ance of 35 an­i­mal gen­era. Such glass pieces could not only give a snapshot of life on Earth, the find sug­gests that sim­i­lar im­pact glass might be present on plan­ets like Mars and could hold clues about life on the planet. Ge­ol­ogy,April15(on­line)

A re­searcher crushes me­te­orites with a mor­tar and pes­tle for anal­y­sis

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