Questions From Readers (Part 3)

Questions From Readers (Part 3)
Questions From Readers (Part 3)

How to determine the authenticity of a meteorite? What is plasticine made of and where is the driest place on Earth? Read the answers to these and other questions in our traditional rubric.

Rick and Morty

How to determine the authenticity of a meteorite? How much can a meteorite cost?

Dmitry, Krasnodar

The meteorite is unique in its composition, it is almost impossible to fake it. Of course, the authenticity of the messenger from space will still need to be established through a long examination procedure (usually such laboratories exist in large universities at the Faculty of Geology or the like). However, already at the stage of "collecting" meteorites, it is possible to determine which of them, in fact, can claim this honorary title. Unless you are holding a rare meteorite in your hands, of course. Most of these "aliens" are quite recognizable.

Their signs are as follows:

1. Recently arrived specimens are covered with a melting crust (it can be black with a brownish tint in iron meteorites; sometimes it is shiny, which is characteristic of achondrites; very rarely, a light, translucent crust is observed).

2. High density. Meteorites are heavier than, for example, granite or sedimentary rocks.

3. Sometimes oriented-cone-shaped or melted-debris shape.

4. They can be smooth, but more often regmaglipts are visible on the surface - smoothed depressions resembling finger dents on clay.

5. The fracture is most often gray in color, on which small balls, about 1 mm in size, are sometimes noticeable - chondrules (only stone chondrites).

6. In the majority of the polished section, inclusions of metallic iron are visible (all stone meteorites).

7. Magnetization: the compass needle deviates noticeably (all except stone achondrites).

8. Over time, they oxidize in air, acquiring a brown, rusty color (everything except achondrites).

9. Able to forge without special heating to high temperatures (iron meteorites).

10. On a polished and acid-etched section, Widmanstätt figures or Neumann lines (all iron, except ataxites) appear.

Meteorites do not have:

1. There are no layers. Layering is often observed in the shale of sandstones, jasper rocks.

2. There are no carbonate rocks like chalk, limestone, dolomite.

3. There are no fossils: shells, imprints of fossil fauna.

4. There is no large crystalline structure like granite.

In order to confirm the cosmic origin of the stone, it is necessary to reveal at least the slightest signs of iridium in its composition. Iridium is a rare earth metal and is more difficult to find than gold or even platinum. Accordingly, it costs much more. In meteorites, iridium is almost always found in very small proportions. The cost of meteorites varies greatly and depends on the rarity, uniqueness and value of the rock, shape, as well as on the history of the fall. It is believed, for example, that the meteorite that exploded over Chelyabinsk belongs to the "cheap" group, but the authorities are already offering 3 million rubles for lifting it from Lake Chebarkul. In general, the price of "ordinary" meteorites varies from 10-50 cents per gram and goes up to 1000 dollars and more (Martian and moon rocks). Even rarer examples can cost a fortune.

What is plasticine made of?

Igor N., Nizhny Tagil

The main substance of plasticine is crushed clay powder, to which wax, vegetable or animal fat and other substances that retain moisture are added. The resulting mixture has the color of clay, therefore, in order to color the plasticine, various dyes are also added to it.

How do I know if I have famous ancestors?

Nikolaev Oleg, Kaliningrad

In order to know for sure about your ancestors, you first need a long and painstaking analysis of information from the state archives. Stage two - DNA analysis, which will allow you to compare your genetic data with the data of the alleged ancestor, for example, Ivan the Terrible. However, this procedure is extremely expensive and difficult to implement. Meanwhile, modern genetic studies have shown that half of the male population of Western Europe belongs to the same genetic haplogroup R1b1a2 as the famous pharaoh Tutankhamun, who lived more than three thousand years ago. According to scientists, the data obtained is evidence that the Egyptian pharaoh and Western European men had one common ancestor. It is curious that among modern Egyptians, only one percent of men belong to the R1b1a2 haplogroup. I heard that there is a so-called door to the underworld.

Is it really true, and where is this place?

Irina, Novosibirsk

This name, indeed, has received a place in Turkmenistan. When in 1971, while drilling an exploration well, geologists discovered an underground cavity, an unforeseen situation happened. As a result of the failure, the drilling rig with the equipment sank into the cavity. Then it was decided to set fire to the gas so that it would not come out. Usually, as a result of arson, the gas burned out and opened access to the cavity. But this time everything turned out differently, and the gas is still burning. And the place was named "The Door to the Underworld."


Recently visited Tokyo. At a local restaurant, I tasted a dish in which a killed squid started vigorously wiggling its tentacles right on my plate after being poured with soy sauce. The sight is not for the faint of heart. But how is this possible?

Igor Golovatyuk, Novosibirsk

Indeed, there is a dish in Japanese cuisine called the dancing squid. The recently killed animal is placed in a bowl of rice and poured over with soy sauce, which causes the mollusk to "dance" with its tentacles. The fact is that to transmit a signal, neurons actively pump sodium ions into the intercellular space. Soy sauce is rich in salt - sodium chloride - which triggers the nerve cells of an already dead animal, causing its muscles to contract. The main thing is that the squid is really fresh, and in its muscle tissue there is still a supply of energy ATP molecules necessary for movement.


Why doesn't car glass break?

Andrey K., Moscow

At the beginning of the 20th century, the most ordinary glass was used in cars, so even a minor accident could result in injury and death of people who were literally cut with sharp fragments. Many chemists of that time worked on the creation of safety glasses, but they managed to get it almost by accident. In 1903, when the French chemist Edouard Benedictus accidentally dropped the flask, it cracked, but did not shatter.

As it turned out, the flask contained remnants of collodion - a solution of trinitrocellulose, which dried up and formed a thin colorless film on the glass, which protected the fragments from scattering. Benedictus did not immediately attach importance to this event, but after reading an article in the newspaper about another accident, he remembered about it, and made the first glass, consisting of two transparent layers glued together with a layer of trinitrocellulose - what we know as "triplex". Since then, the number of victims of car accidents has dropped significantly.

I heard that there are some muscles that a large number of people lack. What are these muscles?

Dmitry, Anapa

The long palmar muscles are absent, according to various sources, in 4, 6-26, 6% of people on the planet. In some animals, these muscles are responsible for the release of claws, but in our country their functional purpose is not completely clear. They are involved in flexing the fingers of the hand, but, as far as is known, their loss does not affect the strength and dexterity of the grip.Therefore, surgeons sometimes use the palmar muscles as a material for repairing other damaged muscles.

Where is the driest place on Earth?

Irina Morozova, Krasnodar

The driest place on Earth is not the Sahara or another hot desert, but the cold McMurdo valleys in Antarctica. The terrain here is almost completely free of ice and snow: all moisture is carried away by powerful winds reaching a speed of 320 km / h. In some areas of dry valleys, rain has not occurred in millions of years.

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