Erg Chech 002

Erg Chech 002

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the Topic details “Erg Chech 002”. The Topic “Erg Chech 002″ has relevance in the Science and Technology section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

About Erg Chech 002?

For Mains:

GS 2: Science and Technology


Why in the news:

In May 2020, researchers came across distinctive rocks in the Sahara Desert containing distinct greenish crystals. These rocks were identified as remnants from the early Solar System.

These particular rock fragments are part of the Erg Chech 002 meteorite, representing the oldest volcanic rock ever found, with an estimated age dating back approximately 4.56556 billion years.


About Erg Chech 002

  • Erg Chech 002 is categorized as an “ungrouped achondrite,” and its origin is from melted planetesimals, with the specific parent body unknown.
  • Analysis of Erg Chech 002 revealed a high concentration of lead-206 and lead-207, as well as the presence of undecayed uranium-238 and uranium-235.
  • Comparisons with other achondrites, particularly volcanic angrites, showed that aluminum-26 dispersion in the early Solar System was irregular.


Key Findings:

  • Aluminum-26 has a relatively short half-life of approximately 717,000 years, making it challenging to directly detect in significant quantities within a 4.6-million-year-old space rock like Erg Chech 002.
  • However, when Aluminum-26 undergoes decay, it transforms into Magnesium-26, a stable and non-radioactive isotope of Magnesium.
  • This conversion process from Aluminum-26 to Magnesium-26 can be employed as a dating method, serving as a clock for space rocks like Erg Chech 002. It helps determine the initial amount of Aluminum-26 in these rocks.
  • To effectively use the Aluminum-26-Magnesium-26 decay system as a dating tool, it’s crucial to understand whether Aluminum-26 was uniformly distributed throughout the solar nebula responsible for the formation of the solar system’s planets, asteroids, and comets.
  • The researchers studied Erg Chech 002, an achondrite rock formed from melted planetesimals. They combined their findings with data on angrite meteorites, a rare subset of achondrites. Achondrites are meteorites that exhibit signs of having undergone melting and share similarities with volcanic rocks found on Earth.
  • Detailed examination of rocks containing distinctive greenish crystals has confirmed their extraterrestrial origin, signifying their connection to the early Solar System.
  • These rocks are fragments of the Erg Chech 002 meteorite, which is the oldest volcanic rock ever identified.
  • Chondrites represent the most common class of meteorites, accounting for more than 85% of all meteorite falls.




Q.1 Recently seen in the news, “Erg Chech 002” is :

(a) A space mission of ESA.

(b) A new Russian ICBM

(c) A meteorite

(d) USAs new station in Arctic




Q.2 With reference to Erg Chech 002, consider the following statements:

  1. It represents the oldest volcanic rock ever identified.
  2. Its age was identified by using the Aluminum-26-Magnesium-26 decay system as a dating tool.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2




Q.3 Discuss the significance of the Erg Chech 002 meteorite in planetary science, focusing on its role in dating early Solar System events. How does its discovery contribute to our knowledge of celestial body formation and the challenges in studying such ancient space rocks?

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