This CO3 meteorite is a carbonaceous chondrite in the CO group. This means that about half of the volume consists of small chondrules and refractory inclusions of 0.2mm or smaller. Type 3 represents the presence of abundant chondrules, low aqueous alteration and non-equilibrated mineral assemblages.
Oldest material from the Solar System
The chondrules in this meteorite contain the most elemental material from the solar system as it formed more than 4.5 billion years ago in the planetary disk just after the birth of the sun. This meteorite is older than the Earth itself! These chondrites belong to the NWA meteorites. NWA stands for North West Africa where they are found by nomads in the desert. Here the meteorites are very conspicuous because of their colour.
What is a meteorite?
A meteorite is a rock or several rock fragments, usually composed of stone or iron, that penetrates the atmosphere and falls to Earth. Often these rocks have broken off from a larger celestial body, such as a comet, asteroid or even a planet. When this happens nearby, debris can land on the Earth. Thanks to the protective layer of our atmosphere, many of these debris burn up in the heat. The ones that survive the fiery journey through the atmosphere, and eventually strike the Earth's surface, are called meteorites.