An otherworldly discovery has just been made. A University of South Florida student discovered dozens of tiny, mysterious crystalline orbs that he now believes contain evidence of an ancient meteorite impact in or around Florida. At 2 to 3 million years old, these extraterrestrial pearls are stoking our cosmic curiosity.
Analysis suggests that these strange pearls are microtektites, making this discovery the first documented case of microtektites in Florida, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. Science Direct reports that microtektites are microscopic silicate glass bodies often found in deep-sea sediment.
Some scientists believe microtektites have a lunar volcanic origin, while others believe they have a terrestrial impact origin, according to Science Direct. The pearls found in Florida contain "exotic metals," which bolsters the explanation that they are microtektites, according to the Florida Museum.
Mike Meyer, now a graduate of the University of South Florida, made this unearthly discovery when he was an undergraduate student. He recently revisited his work, and, based on new research, these beautiful little pearls could be ancient relics of the cosmos.
“It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I had some free time,” Meyer told Natalie van Hoose at the Florida Museum. “I was like, ‘Let me just start from scratch.’”
Meyer discovered these pearl-like microtektites in the fossils of clams, which were found in a quarry in Sarasota, FL. This marine fossil discovery aligns with other instances of microtektites found in deep-sea sediment.
The astonishing little pearls are tiny, even smaller than grains of salt. Something so small could mean something big if these spheres are truly extraterrestrial. Meyer believes there are many more microtektite discoveries to be made in Florida.
For now, Meyer is astonished by this cosmic discovery.
“It did blow my mind,” Meyer told van Hoose.
You can read more about this discovery here.