What was the first mineral formed in the universe?

  1. Hi,

    This is more complicated the more I consider all the variables.

    Klein defines a mineral as:
    “A mineral is a naturally occurring homogeneous solid with a definite (but generally not fixed) chemical composition and a highly ordered atomic arrangement. It is usually formed by inorganic processes.”

    SiO2's are most common on earth and seem to be so based on stability. Meteorites have species of SiO2 and I'm wondering if one of those is considered the first mineral forme din the universe.

    What do you think?

    W
     
  2. jcsd
  3. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,129
    Gold Member

    Water.
     
  4. Water...hmmm?

    Well it would have to be solid and one would have to determine the time line for 0°C to exist as water is not a mineral except under 0°C...right?

    That's why I wondering about what elements tend to bond stable at higher T and P.

    I'm a geology student and unsure about chemistry/physics at this level but aren't all elements assumed to have "evolved" from H? It would follow they would sort themselves based on the periodic table and heavier elements forming later. Electronegativity etc would play a roll.

    At any rate you are saying T was at or below 0° C before any other minerals could form...High T & P silicates etc....? Higher P would make lower T more difficult to obtain right?

    I'm unconvinced but plead ignorance as well. If you've a mind could you elaborate?

    Thanks,

    W
     
  5. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    After the universe was created, all matter that existed at the time was approximately (By mass) 75% Hydrogen, 25% Helium, and a smattering of other others such as Lithium and Beryllium, about 10^-10 of a percent of the latter 2 though. Elements such as Silicon, Oxygen, Carbon, ETC were all created by nucleosynthesis inside the first stars. While it is true that the ratio of elements does tend to follow the periodic table, there are some significant differences due to the different methods of fusing elements together, stability of certain elements, and other effects. For example, Oxygen is ranked as the third most abundant element yet is the 8th element. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_the_chemical_elements
     
  6. Almost certainly the first mineral would have been Lithium Hydride as the ingredients, Lithium and Hydrogen, were created in the Big Bang hundreds of thousands of years before the first stars and millions of years before the first supernovae, the real engines of nucleosynthesis.
     
  7. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,129
    Gold Member

    Uh. OK. I guess I assumed its solid state at a given temperature and pressure was one of the things you'd be least interested in.

    Thing is, "solid" is an agglomerate property of a mass of atoms, not a property of atoms themselves. Almost anything in the early stages of the universe would have been gaseous until such time as it could cool enough and massive enough to begin to clump together under gravity.

    So, by your strict definition even your SiO2 and Blibbler's HLi would not have been solid - let alone minerals - until they could clump into pebbles, rocks and planetesimals.

    So, your question is malformed. It is more meaningfully: When the first substances were finally able to conglomerate into solids, what might those solid proto-rocks have been composed of?

    Note that, by the time this happened, there were surely multiple substances floating in gaseous form available to form solids, which means there would have been no single "first".

    i.e.:
    first materials were formed that (when they eventually could reach a certain temp & pressure) would tend toward solids - there would have been myriad substances in this category
    then the conditions arose for them to form all solids simultaneously.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2011
  8. Carbon i'm guessing
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?