Dr. Harold Connolly

New mineral, named Krotite, is found in 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite

Brooklyn,  NY, May 16 – Dr. Regina  Peruggi, president of Kingsborough Community College (KCC), today announced that Dr. Harold  C. Connolly, Jr., a KCC Department of Physical Sciences professor, and Stuart  A. Sweeney Smith, who worked with Professor Connolly at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) as a City University of New York undergraduate intern, are among a team of scientists that has discovered a new  mineral, named krotite.  The discovery was revealed in a paper published in the May-June issue of the American Mineralogist.  Krotite was found in a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite and is one of the earliest minerals formed in our solar system. It is the main component of an unusual inclusion embedded in a meteorite (NWA1934) found in northwest Africa.  Krotite is named for Alexander N. Krot, a cosmochemist at the University of Hawaii, in recognition of his significant contributions to the understanding of early solar system processes.

 Dr. Connolly, Jr. and Mr. Sweeney Smith, researching at the AMNH, recognized the inclusion inside of a chondritic meteorite to be a very special type known as a calcium-aluminum-rich refractory inclusion, the first rocks to form in the solar system.  Composed of the first minerals to form in the solar system, the minerals condense at temperatures of 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit (1,500 degrees Celsius) to form, which supports the notion that the inclusion was created before the earth and other planets were formed. The inclusion is known as “Cracked Egg” because of its distinctive features.

“The new Krotite mineral, found in a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite, is a phenomenal discovery and is one of our connections to the beginning of the solar system.  The Kingsborough community congratulates Professor Connolly, who led the discovery, and the outstanding team of scientists working with him.  It is a testament to the quality of the faculty that teaches at Kingsborough, the engagement of the faculty with their students, both in and out of the classroom, and the quality of their research.  We are so very proud,” said Dr. Peruggi.

The American Mineralogist paper is entitled “Krotite, CaAl204, a new refractory mineral from the NWA 1934 meteorite.”  It is authored by Chi Ma (Caltech), Harold C. Connolly Jr. (KCC/CUNY), Anthony R. Kampf (NHM), John R. Beckett (Caltech), George R. Rossman (Caltech), Stuart A. Sweeney Smith (who was a NSF funded Research for Undergraduate (REU) student at CUNY/AMNH) and Devin L. Scharder (University of Arizona).

 Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn’s only community college, is ranked as one of the top 10%  in the country.  It is located on a 70-acre campus in Manhattan Beach, on the southern tip of Brooklyn. The breathtaking campus overlooks three bodies of water:  Sheepshead Bay, Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.  It serves approximately thirty thousand students per year, offering a wide range of credit and non-credit courses in the liberal arts, career education, and specialized programs.

Contact:       Ruby Ryles

                    Kingsborough Community College