Researchers at Caltech and several other institutions have named a newly discovered mineral in a meteorite, "brearleyite," in recognition of University of New Mexico Professor and Chair Adrian Brearley in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences for his contributions to meteorite mineralogy.

"I'm deeply honored and humbled to say the least," said Brearley. "It doesn't happen to too many people."

Brearleyite is an extremely rare, fine-grained mineral that is a new meteoritic Ca-Al (calcium-aluminum) and Cl-rich phase. The sample was discovered in a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite found in Northwest Africa in 2003. It likely formed from a reaction of krotite with hot Cl-bearing gases or fluids on a small asteroid, 4.56 billion years ago. Krotite is another recently discovered mineral that is named after Dr. Alexandre Krot, a colleague and collaborator of Brearley's at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa.

The mineral and its name, "brearleyite," have been approved by the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC) of the International Mineralogical Association. Three round, thin sections of one inch diameter contain the material.

The full research article describing the new mineral was published recently in the journal, the American Mineralogist, and can be found at: brearleyite.

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