Meteorites (Meteors That Landed / Impacted)

Meteorite hits Cambodia, sparks fires

Wednesday, January 26, 2005 Posted: 12:33 PM EST (1733 GMT)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (Reuters) -- A 4.5 kg (10 lb) meteorite which landed in a former Khmer Rouge zone of northwest Cambodia started fires across rice fields and prayers from villagers who saw it as a divine omen of peace.

"Some farmers are angry with the rock because it caused fires and destroyed several hundred hectares of their paddy fields," said Sok Sareth, police chief of Banteay Meanchey province, around 200 miles northwest of the capital, Phnom Penh.

"But others asked the police to leave it where it landed and put it on shrine to pray for peace," he told Reuters on Wednesday.

The black lump of celestial rock sent villagers scurrying for cover when it thumped into the ground in the war-scarred southeast Asian nation on Monday morning.

"It made a noise like a bomb exploding," Sok Sareth said. "It's a good thing it didn't land in the village or people could have been killed."

Pictures of the meteorite were splashed across newspapers in the capital, but the item itself has been carried away by police pending scientific analysis.

Initial investigations by explosives experts still clearing the bombs and mines left behind from Cambodia's years of civil war against Pol Pot's guerrillas have not yielded many results.

"I asked my friend who works as deminer, but he has no idea what the rock is," Sok Sareth said.

Copyright 2005 Reuters. All rights reserved. ... index.html
Meteorites Offer Glimpse Of The Early Earth

Source: Purdue University
Date: 2005-10-03
URL: ... 201613.htm


Meteorites Offer Glimpse Of The Early Earth, Say Purdue Scientists

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Important clues to the environment in which the early Earth formed may be emerging from Purdue University scientists' recent study of a particular class of meteorites.

By examining the chemistry of 29 chunks of rock that formed billions of years ago, probably in close proximity to our planet, two Purdue researchers, Michael E. Lipschutz and Ming-Sheng Wang, have clarified our understanding of the conditions present in the vicinity of the ancient Earth's orbit. Because direct evidence for these conditions is lacking in terrestrial samples, the scientists believe that the composition of these so-called enstatite chondrite (EC) meteorites could offer a window into the planet's distant past.

"What happened to these rocks most likely happened to the Earth in its early stages – with one great exception," said Lipschutz, a professor of chemistry in Purdue's College of Science. "Shortly after the early Earth formed, an object the size of Mars smashed into it, and the heat from the cataclysm irrevocably altered the geochemical makeup of our entire planet. These EC meteorites, however, are likely formed of matter similar to that which formed the early Earth, but they were not involved in this great collision and so were not chemically altered. They might be the last remaining pristine bits of the material that became the planet beneath our feet."

The research appears in today's (Sept. 27) edition of a new journal, Environmental Chemistry, which solicited the paper. Lipschutz said the journal's editorial board includes F. Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina, who received the Nobel prize for their discovery that Earth's protective ozone layer was threatened by human activity.

Lipschutz and Wang initially set out to increase our knowledge of EC meteorites, one of many different meteorite classes. Meteorites come from many different parts of the solar system, and a scientist can link one with its parent object by determining the different isotopes of oxygen in a meteorite's minerals. Chunks of the moon, the Earth and EC meteorites, for example, have very similar isotopic "signatures," quite different from those of Mars and other objects formed in the asteroid belt. The variations occurred because different materials condensed in different regions of the disk of gas and dust that formed the sun and planets.

Bits of these materials orbit the sun, occasionally falling to earth as meteorites. But there is one place on our planet that meteorites accumulate and are preserved in a pristine fashion – the ice sheet of Antarctica.

"Over the millennia, many thousands of meteorites have struck the Antarctic ice sheet, which both preserves them and slowly concentrates them near mountains sticking through the ice, much as ocean waves wash pebbles to the shore," said Lipschutz. "These stones have come from many different parts of the solar system and have given us a better picture of the overall properties of their parent objects."

By examining their mineralogy, scientists have determined that about 200 of these Antarctic stones are EC meteorites that formed from the same local batch of material as the Earth did more than 4.5 billion years ago. But there is additional information that the chemistry of these ECs can offer on the temperatures at which they formed. To obtain this information, however, required Lipschutz to analyze chemicals in the meteorites called volatiles – rare elements such as indium, thallium and cadmium.

"Volatiles in meteorites can give unique information on their temperature histories, but only 14 of them had ever been analyzed for these elements," Lipschutz said. "Naturally, we want to know the story behind the formation of objects in our own neighborhood, so we set out to increase that number."

In this study, the researchers gathered samples taken from another 15 EC meteorites that had, for the most part, landed in Antarctica tens of thousands of years ago. Using a unique method involving bombardment of the samples with neutrons, chemically separating the radioactive species and counting them, the researchers were able to determine the amounts of 15 volatiles that together offered clues to each rock's heating history.

"Volatiles can act like thermometers," Lipschutz said. "They can tell you whether the temperature was high or low when the rock formed. We tested two different kinds of ECs, and the oldest, most primitive examples of each kind had very similar volatile contents – which means their temperature at formation was similar. These rocks have essentially recorded the temperature at which the early Earth formed, and we now know that this was much lower than 500 degrees Celsius."

The two different kinds of EC meteorites, known as ELs and EHs, were found in the Purdue study to have condensed at low temperatures like the Earth. However, the two groups are controversial because scientists have not been able to agree on whether they originated from a single parent object or two different ones. Unfortunately, Lipschutz said, the data from the 29 ECs they analyzed were insufficient to settle the issue.

"There are still quite a few unanswered questions about the earliest periods of the Earth's history, and this study only provides one piece of the puzzle," he said. "But aspects of this study also show that ECs differ substantially from other meteorite types that came from much farther out in the disk, in the region of the asteroid belt."

For Lipschutz, who had an asteroid named for him on his 50th birthday in honor of his many studies of meteorites, their parent bodies and the early history of the solar system, deeper answers may lie farther away than Antarctica.

"If we understand how our solar system formed, we might be better able to understand the processes at work in other solar systems, which we are just beginning to discover," he said. "Probing the asteroid belt could give us clues to these processes."

This research was funded in part by NASA.
1,400-Pound Meteorite Found in Kansas Fri Nov 11, 4:46 PM ET

In an area of southwest Kansas long known for its meteorite finds, Steve Arnold came up with what may be the biggest of its kind ever found in the United States.

Arnold, a professional meteorite hunter from Kingston, Ark., found the 1,400-pound space rock two weeks ago in Kiowa County's Brenham Township. Using a metal detector mounted on a three-wheel vehicle, he discovered it more than 7 feet underground and dug it up.

It was in the same area that in 1949 produced a 1,000-pound meteorite now on display at the Celestial Museum in Greensburg, part of the World's Largest Hand Dug Well that is the community's biggest claim to fame.

"It is aesthetically the type of meteorite that makes collectors drool," Arnold, a former Wichita resident who has hunted for meteorites around the world, said of his find. "It's what a meteorite ought to look like. It's going to make first-graders go 'Wow!'"

Arnold estimates the value of the big rock "in the seven figures" and says he wants to sell it, preferably to a museum or someone who will keep it intact.

"It won't be cut to reveal its inner beauty," he said. "It's awesome enough from the outside."

Geoffrey Notkin, a science writer and meteorite collector who was with Arnold when the meteorite was found, said its size alone makes it extraordinary.

"By sheer mass, it has to be one of the largest finds in decades," he said.

According to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the Brenham meteorite exploded centuries ago over what is now Kansas, scattering more than three tons of fragments.

"We get regular reports of meteorites," said Rex Buchanan, associate director of the Kansas Geological Survey. "People see them and they bring them in. A normal size is anywhere from the size of your fist to a grapefruit."

The meteorite Arnold discovered is classified as an oriented pallasite, so it has a conical shape and has olivine crystals embedded in iron-nickel alloy. Only two larger ones of that type are known to have been found: a 3,100-pounder in Australia and a 1,500-pounder in Argentina.

Meteorites change shape as they enter the Earth's atmosphere. An oriented meteorite, which is rare, maintains a stable flight rather than tumbling.

Richard Stephenson, manager of the Big Well, said the majority of meteorites found in Kiowa County are from a two-square mile area in Brenham Township. The Kiowa County meteorites are known throughout the world for gemlike olivine crystals, and they look almost like stained glass when cut.
Largest Meteorite Of Its Kind Found In Kansas

KIOWA COUNTY, Kansas It weighs 14-hundred pounds and is called a stony-iron pallasite meteorite. It's also being called the largest of its kind ever found in the U.S.

Professional meteorite hunter Steve Arnold says he discovered and dug up the meteorite on a farm near Haviland, Kansas in late October. He says he used special metal detecting equipment to find it and needed a back hoe to get it out of the ground.

"And it was like, 'oh my.' It’s an oriented and there is nothing more you can ask for than that,” said Arnold.

"Well, I was pretty excited about it, but not nearly excited as Steve was,” said property owner Allen Binford.

Pallasite meteorites are considered rare. Some estimates say they account for only one percent of all meteorites on Earth.

"It's a gorgeous museum quality specimen,” said Arnold.

They can also be worth a lot of money. Some sell for 20 to 40 dollars per gram.

"He finds them and he has got a partner that helps sell them and I own the land, so I get part of it too. We'll all be happy,” said Binford. "I am sure there is another or two out there just waiting for us. Maybe bigger than this one."

So here's the math on the meteorite found by Arnold. There are 28 point 3 grams in an ounce and 16 ounces in a pound. That means the Arnold meteorite weighs about 635 thousand grams.
Antarctica Is A Hot Spot For UA Scientists Hunting Meteorite

Antarctica Is A Hot Spot For UA Scientists Hunting Meteorites

Julia Goreva (right) and a colleague demonstrate proper meteorite collecting technique by using tongs to place meteorites in sterile plastic collecting bags. Photo courtesy of Julia Goreva, UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
By Lori Stiles
Tucson AZ (SPX) Nov 10, 2005
Not many people celebrate their year-end holidays on the east Antarctic ice sheet. But nearly every year for more than a decade, University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) professors, graduate students or alumni have.
They have been part of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program, intent on collecting pieces of asteroids, the moon and Mars which have landed as meteorites on the whitest place on Earth.

"ANSMET is such an amazing program," UA postdoctoral researcher Jani Radebaugh says. "It's like getting free samples from outer space, free except for the cost of traveling to Antarctica to collect them."

Radebaugh is among 15 scientists and mountaineers selected for the 2005-2006 ANSMET program. So is Gordon Osinski, a recent LPL postdoctoral researcher now with the Canadian Space Agency. The 20-year-old ANSMET program is funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs and by NASA's Solar System Exploration Division. Planetary scientist Ralph Harvey of Case Western Reserve University heads the collecting expeditions.

"The program is a wonderful thing, because now there's a push to go back to the moon and Mars and return samples to try to understand these bodies," Radebaugh said. "We can learn a lot more about these bodies as we increase the collection of the samples that land on Earth. I think these expeditions are a really important service to planetary science."

Radebaugh, who earned her UA doctorate last May, will join the Brigham Young University geology faculty this fall. "I think this experience would be fun for students to hear about," she added.

Postodoctoral researcher Julia Goreva was on the successful 2004-2005 meteorite collecting expedition. She and 11 others collected 1,230 meteorites. These include more than 300 pounds of "pallasite" meteorites -- rare rocks originally from the core-mantle boundary of a small destroyed planet or a large asteroid. One pallasite, the largest ever found, weighed more than 70 pounds.

"For the past 10 years I've been studying meteorites -- destroying them, dissolving them, melting, burning, getting every bit of information they can give me about the processes that took place at times when the Earth was just an embryo," Goreva said.

"ANSMET is a program that builds a collection available to any scientist around the globe, so it was very important for me to become one of the people who can personally contribute to the pool of rocks that continue to puzzle me in the lab."

Radebaugh leaves for New Zealand on Nov. 17. Expedition members get completely outfitted at Christchurch, N.Z., then board an LC 130 cargo airplane for an 8-hour flight to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Bad weather can mean turning around mid-flight and returning to Christchurch. It took one expedition four tries to reach McMurdo.

After survival and other training at McMurdo, Radebaugh, Osinski and their colleagues will head for the Antarctic plateau inland of the Miller Range in the Transantarctic Mountains and set up base camp. They'll live in 2-person tents for five weeks during the South Polar summer, when temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Goreva said, "I never thought that two girls could eat a pound of butter per week and a pound of bacon for breakfast. That does keep you warm!"

Antarctica is by far the best place on Earth to search for meteorites, mainly for two reasons, Ralph Harvey explains on the ANSMET Website. One is that although meteorites fall randomly all over the globe, they are more easily found against Antarctica's plain, bright ice than on other Earth surfaces. The other has to do with the fact that as snow accumulates on the continental ice sheet, the weight pushes the ice sheet toward the edges of the continent.

"As this big, very thick ice sheet slowly spreads out, it moves like a conveyor belt and delivers meteorites to the bases of mountains," Radebaugh said.

Over tens of thousands of years, phenomenal concentrations of meteorites can develop, as high as one meteorite per square meter in some places, Harvey says on the ANSMET Website. The ANSMET program archives all its meteorites at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

That many LPL researchers have been on the Antarctica meteorite-collecting teams shows "just how involved the LPL is in the planetary science community," Radebaugh said. "The lab has a big group of people doing different kinds of research. The UA is a strong institution in planetary science. And, I also think many of us became involved because we have so many friends who have gone, and they know how exciting it is, how much fun."

"Antarctica is the most amazing place I've seen in my life," Goreva said. "At times it was breathtakingly beautiful, at times harsh and angry, but always pure, and it made me feel, well, very small. It was an overwhelming feeling to realize that you are the first person to be in that particular place in the world. (Goreva was on the 4-person reconnaissance team, the advance group for the 8-person collecting team, last season.) Except for the four of us, there was not a single living being hundreds of miles around."

Goreva added, "One of the first questions people ask is if spending two months on the ice was worth it. The short answer is -- every second of it. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat."
Record Year For Meteorite Recovery In Canada

Calgary AB (SPX) Dec 20, 2005
Manitoba becomes meteorite capital as Canada's most successful meteorite hunter proves meteorite "dumping ground" theory east of Winnipeg.
The discovery of four new meteorites in 2005 makes it a record-setting year for recovering rocks from outer space in Canada and also confirms a University of Calgary scientist's belief that an extraordinary concentration of meteorites left behind after the last Ice Age is located in southeastern Manitoba.

"Scientists have been collecting meteorites in Antarctica for more than two decades where glaciers have concentrated them along the edges of the continent. Many have postulated that the continental ice sheet that covered Canada might also have done this," said U of C planetary scientist Dr. Alan Hildebrand, co-director of the Prairie Meteorite Search.

"That another meteorite was found with relatively little effort pretty much establishes that an unusual concentration of meteorites does exist in eastern Manitoba, and the continental glaciers are the obvious culprit to have put them there."

After becoming the first Canadian to discover two separate meteorites last summer, Winnipeg-based rock collector Derek Erstelle has now shattered the Canadian record by locating fragments of weathered iron that the Prairie Meteorite Search has shown to be another new meteorite from the bush near the Ontario border.

The discovery is exciting news for Manitoba's astronomy community.

"We're obviously very excited about these meteorite discoveries, and we hope that this signals even more discoveries in the future," said Scott Young, manager of the Manitoba Museum's planetarium and science gallery. "Manitoba is under-represented in the meteorite game, so this is our chance to climb the meteorite ladder."

Erstelle's latest find happened in October while he was testing Hildebrand's theory that his previous two meteorites were found relatively close together in the forest because the rocks dropped there when the glaciers that covered much of North America were retreating about 12,000 years ago. The third meteorite is a collection of heavily-rusted iron fragments that were found about 40 kilometres from Erstelle's previous two discoveries north of the town of Pinawa.

"I try to mimic animal behaviour when I'm hunting," Erstelle said of his effective meteorite hunting technique.

"For meteorite searching I sit up high like a raptor and scan the exposed gravel banks with binoculars for unusual rusty spots. Then I check each one to see if something unusual is there."

He found the newest specimen on a gravel bar of the Whiteshell River just above where it empties into Lone Island Lake in the Whiteshell Provincial Park, about 100 km east of Winnipeg. The Lone Island Lake meteorite is the 8th meteorite to be discovered in Manitoba, the 9th meteorite identified by the Prairie Meteorite Search, and the 68th new meteorite to be recovered in Canada.

Erstelle was able to recover about five kilograms of material after locating the crumbling remains of the meteorite with his metal detector.

"The rusty meteorite was already breaking to pieces, but was triggering my metal detector. I dug to get additional pieces and eventually screened the gravel around where the pieces were to get all that I could," he said.

Hildebrand, holder of a Canada Research Chair in Planetary Sciences, said he was initially skeptical Erstelle had found another meteorite.

"Derek's recent discovery is very weathered, so much so, that when I received the samples that I didn't think that they were meteorites," Hildebrand said. "But I couldn't tell what type of rock they were so I cut one, and to my surprise found metal inside. We checked it with the microprobe and the metal contained nickel confirming its origin."

In July, the Prairie Meteorite Search confirmed that two fragments of a meteorite Erstelle found about 40 kilometres away near Bernic Lake in 2002 were from a separate meteorite than a similar-looking specimen he collected near Pinawa in 1998 or 1999. Hildebrand determined that the rocks were found where two lobes of the ancient Laurentide ice sheet met about 11,500 years ago, providing an explanation for their remarkably close proximity. Hildebrand said further tests will be done to determine how long the rocks have been on Earth and to see if more meteorites can be found in the area.

"If these meteorites fell on the ice sheet, they would have to have been on Earth for 12,000 years or longer," Hildebrand said, noting that Erstelle's latest find is very weathered, indicating that it fell to Earth long ago. "We now have to make a plan for the Prairie Meteorite Search to further investigate the region next summer and I expect Manitoba could well become Canada's pre-eminent meteorite province during 2006."

Young is also hopeful more meteorites will be found in Manitoba next year.

"I encourage people to keep an eye out for unusual looking rocks, and bring them to someone who can identify them - the meteorites are out there somewhere, just waiting to be found," he said.

The Prairie Meteorite Search is led by Hildebrand, Dr. Peter Brown from the University of Western Ontario and Dr. Martin Beech from Campion College at the University of Regina. They are all members of the Meteorites and Impacts Advisory Committee (MIAC) to the Canadian Space Agency. MIAC is Canada's volunteer group charged with the investigation of fireballs and the recovery of meteorites. The Canadian Space Agency funded most of the project's field costs for the summer of 2005.

Related Links

Prairie Meteorite Search

University of Calgary
UA Scientist And Private Collector Form Center To Save Meteorites

UA student and meteorite collector Devon Schrader (left) and Dante Lauretta kneel beside the Fukang meteorite, part of Marvin Killgore's collection. Schrader is a member of SWMC and Lauretta is SWMC director.
by Lori Stiles
Tucson AZ (SPX) Feb 02, 2006
The world's meteorites are vanishing. If something isn't done soon, most of Earth's rare space rocks could be gone in a lifetime.
This particularly alarms scientists who want to study meteorites - rocks from outer space ranging in size from microscopic particles to boulders weighing tons - because the extraterrestrial rocks can help them unlock the secrets of our solar system's history and, possibly, the origins of life.

Part of the problem is that meteorites are being collected at a record pace. Specimens that have fallen over millions of years are being harvested in places like Africa's Sahara Desert in a few decades. Commercial dealers are buying these space rocks at prices the scientific community can't match and cutting them into small pieces for sale to bidders in a flooded market.

But it doesn't have to end this way, say a meteorite collector and a university scientist. They are organizing a new center to save the irreplaceable solar system treasure for future generations.

"The whole point of what we're doing is to prevent people from cutting every rare meteorite into tiny, little pieces," said Marvin Killgore of Payson, Ariz., one of the world's foremost private collectors of meteorites.

Killgore and Dante Lauretta, of The University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL), have founded the UA Southwest Meteorite Center (SWMC), which will preserve the space rocks through an alternative marketing strategy designed to benefit meteorite collectors dealers and enthusiasts, while preserving the resource for scientists who need meteorites for research and educational activities.

SWMC will offer collectors, dealers, owners and amateur enthusiasts a fair price for part of the vanishing meteorite legacy. In some cases, this will allow collectors who've spent their lives cherishing meteorites to preserve their collections after they die. Their heirs can sell collections to SWMC at a fair price, and the collections will be preserved in their names.

SWMC will curate meteorites to the highest standards, Lauretta said. Staff will document each meteorite, adding the information to a comprehensive database that will be available to the public.

"By taking the characteristics of each meteorite and putting it into the database, we will be able to tell the dealer or finder that the UA center will pay this much per gram of the specimen," Killgore said.

"And after UA buys some, or all, of the meteorite for the public repository, everybody in the market will know just how much of the material is still left for sale."

That benefits the seller because it's easier to get top dollar for the rest of the meteorite when people know exactly what it is and how much of it is still on the market, Killgore explained. "What this center basically does is control the market situation and at the same time puts away some of the meteorite for future generations."

Until now, there has been no organization that could rapidly and accurately classify meteorites for collectors. In the past, meteorite enthusiasts have waited months or years for their samples to be scientifically analyzed because researchers have been overloaded with too many meteorites to identify and classify. As a result, many frustrated collectors and dealers have sidestepped the scientific community when naming and distributing their specimens.

Lauretta and Killgore, who was recently named curator of meteorites at LPL, say the goal is to develop SWMC as a world-class meteorite repository that will house one of the world's largest collections for research and public education.

Anyone who collects or owns meteorites can bring them to the new non-profit center for identification, classification, and possible sale.

Lauretta, SWMC director, and Killgore have started raising funds to acquire and preserve meteorites and are promoting the new center this week through the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. This annual event draws meteorite enthusiasts and other gem and mineral collectors from around the world.

Killgore, who has collected meteorites for the past 16 years, has loaned a significant part of his world-class collection to SWMC to jumpstart the center's efforts. His collection is valued at about $5 million, weighs 3,328 kilograms (about 7,340 pounds), and comes from about 900 locations in 37 countries.

LPL Director Michael Drake provided initial, first-year funding to pay salaries and provide physical space in LPL's Phoenix Mission Science Operation Center, 1415 N. Sixth Ave., Tucson. SWMC will become self-funding after a year, Drake said.

Donations to SWMC are tax deductible and will fund an endowment for purchasing meteorite specimens; support meteorite classification, analysis and curation; fund undergraduate and graduate student scholarships; and enable center staff to build a premier meteorite exhibit for research and public display.

Those who donate $500 or more will receive a limited edition gift that includes a sample of pallasite - one of the world's rarest, most sought-after type of meteorite - suspended in acrylic. Pallasites account for only about one percent of all known meteorites.

They are prized not just for the beauty of their gem-quality olivine, or peridot, captured in a nickel-iron matrix. The stony-iron meteorites are prized because they come from the core-mantle boundary of a disrupted minor planet in the ancient solar system.

Donations should be sent to: University of Arizona Foundation/SWMC, 1415 N. 6th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85705

Killgore and Lauretta started SWMC's initial information and fund-raising activities this week to coincide with the 52nd Annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. SWMC events for the next two weeks include:

Jan. 28 - Feb. 11 - SWMC displays, exhibits and information. Room 121 of the InnSuites Hotel, 475 N. Granada Ave.
Feb. 4 - UA-sponsored talks on SWMC and how meteorites are classified and authenticated. VFW Hall, 1150 N. Beverly (north of Speedway, between Swan & Craycroft). At 6 p.m., prior to the Michael Blood Meteorite Auction. Speakers include Killgore, Lauretta, Linda Welzenbach, of the Smithsonian Institution, and Harold Connolly, of the New York Museum of Natural History.
Feb. 9 - 12 - SWMC information booth, with meteorite exhibits and displays. Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Ave., in the upstairs gallery.
Meteorite raffle — Raffle tickets for a 30-pound, iron meteorite are available for $10 each from SWMC staff.

Beachball sized metorite 145 milion years old

Meteorite impacts on space rock theories

A remarkable meteorite the size of a beachball, found in heat-forged crystals in one of the world's largest impact craters, may push back the boundaries of knowledge about space rocks.

The 25-centimetre fragment has been found in the Morokweng impact crater in north-west South Africa, where a massive object slammed into the earth about 145 million years ago.

The find is unique, for large asteroids or comets are believed to vaporise or melt completely within a few seconds after they hit the earth, so enormous is the energy of their impact.

As a result, their composition is identified indirectly, by looking at chemical telltales left in the crater soil.

The Morokweng rock falls into the category of a "stony" meteorite, but it is chemically quite unlike other meteorites of this type, which are of a far more recent vintage.

The South African rock is rich in iron silicates and iron-nickel sulphides yet poor in metal.

Researcher Wolfgang Maier, of the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, says more work is needed to see if there could be other meteorites around the world that match this unusual signature.

But the implication is that the composition of space rocks that have reached the earth differs over the time scale of impact.

This, in turn, raises the question that there may be a bigger than suspected variety in the chemistry of rocks circling the sun or perhaps some alteration to the rocks themselves that occurs during the aeons in orbit.

The study is to appear in Nature, the weekly British science journal.
Morokweng crater

The Morokweng crater measures more than 70 kilometres across.

It lay unidentified until 1996 because the distinctive crater ring had been worn away by the millions of years or lay hidden under sand.

The impact coincided with the end of the Jurassic era 145 million years ago, when there was a mass extinction among marine life and reptiles.

This has caused some scientists to draw a parallel with an impact that occurred in modern-day Mexico about 65 million years ago that is believed to have ended the long reign of the dinosaurs.

Impacts by very large asteroids or comets, according to this theory, can deliver so much energy that clouds of dust can be kicked into the atmosphere, cooling the heat from the sun and killing off species of vegetation and the chain of animals that depend on them.

Meteorites are the remains of meteors - rubble that collides with earth and show up as streaks of light as they burn up through friction with atmosphere.

These remnants can be very big, but until now they have only been found in craters with a diameter of four kilometres or less.

The smaller the rock, the less energy is released, which means there is less risk that the object will be consumed upon impact.

Last Update: Thursday, May 11, 2006. 10:00am (AEST)
This reads a bit like the plot for a TV play!

Doctors and lawyers fight over ownership of meteorite from asteroid belt
The meteorite is being kept at the Smithsonian during the ownership battle
Matt Spence in Washington

Late last month Marc Gallini got out of his chair in his medical examination room when a chunk of meteorite smashed through the roof and hit the spot where he would have been sitting, had a patient not just cancelled his appointment.

“It just wasn’t my time, I guess,” Dr Gallini said. His partner, Frank Ciampi, described the moment the tennis-ball-sized piece of rock hit the building in northern Virginia as “like an explosion went off”.

There the tale of a lucky escape might have ended, but the doctors’ landlord heard of the incident. The meteorite is now at the centre of a legal struggle for ownership involving the doctors, the landlord and one of the country’s leading museum and research bodies. “Once we discovered what it was, our first instinct was to donate the meteorite to the Smithsonian Institution,” Dr Ciampi told The Times. They were offered a $5,000 (£3,200) finder’s fee by the organisation, which houses nearly half of the 27,000 meteorites in collections around the world.

“We wanted to donate the money to Haiti,” he added. “We even talked to [our landlord] and he thought donating the money was a great idea.”

Before long, Dr Ciampi said, “meteorite hunters started showing up”. According to one, Steve Arnold of a cable television show called Meteorite Men, the meteorite could fetch between $25,000 and $50,000 — at which point the owners of the building suddenly became interested.

A few days later the doctors received an e-mail from the landlord, Erol Mutlu, saying that his brother, Deniz, was on his way to the Smithsonian to claim the rock. In a subsequent e-mail claiming ownership of the meteorite, The Washington Post reported, Mr Mutlu wrote: “It’s evident that ownership is tied to the landowner. The courts have ruled that a meteorite becomes part of the land where it arrives through ‘natural cause’ and the property of the landowner; the notion of ‘finders keepers’ has been rejected by the Supreme Court of Oregon.”

The doctors hired a lawyer to contact the Smithsonian to prevent release of the rock until ownership had been established. The two sides are at a stand-off and are apparently determined to take the issue to court. The museum is staying out of the row but using the time that it has the meteorite to study it. Tim McCoy, a mineral sciences curator at the Smithsonian, said that the rock, which comes from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter would allow scientists to look back about 4.6 billion years as it contained “the primitive stuff left over from the birth of the solar system”.

Dr Ciampi said that he was “praying it all gets settled quickly and [the meteorite] stays at the Smithsonian”. ... 018501.ece
Arizonans Find Largest Meteorite Fragment From Spectacular Midwestern Fall
May 5th, 2010 in Space & Earth / Space Exploration
Arizonans Find Largest Meteorite Fragment From Spectacular Midwestern Fall


Wisconsin meteorite. (Photo by Kitty Killgore)

( -- UA meteorite curator Marvin Killgore has found what is to date the largest fragment of an object that exploded in the skies over Wisconsin in April.

People in southwestern Wisconsin and northern Iowa on April 14 witnessed a sonic boom and a fireball that briefly - and spectacularly - lit up the late evening sky. It was the result of an ancient rock that ended its 4.5 billion year journey through the solar system in a ball of flames entering Earth's atmosphere.

NASA officials estimated that the rock, a meteoroid some 3.3 feet across, blew apart with the force equivalent to 20 tons of TNT. Videos of it are widely available on the Internet.

And it also set off what one meteorite hunter called "the ultimate Easter egg hunt."

Marvin Killgore, the curator of meteorites for the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, and his wife, Kitty, were among the first of a phalanx of meteorite hunters from around the world to arrive in Mineral Point, Wisc., just days after the sighting.

To date, the Killgores have what may be the largest fragment of the meteorite, a pristine chunk of space rock weighing about 300 grams, although Marvin Killgore said rumors of a larger meteorite are circulating.

The Killgores work with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Marc Fries on locating meteorites. They use Doppler weather radar sites on the Internet to triangulate the trajectory of objects heading through the atmosphere to the ground. Much like atmospheric clouds, exploding meteoroids create clouds of debris that are picked up as radar signatures and form a "strewn field," the zone that encompasses the area where pieces of the meteorite land.

This particular object was a breccia, a conglomerate of rocks embedded in a fine-grained rock matrix. It most likely came from the asteroid belt orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.

Killgore estimated the rock first detonated at 30 kilometers - about 18 miles above the Earth's surface - with the first radar signature occurring at about 30,000 feet, sending a two-mile wide,14-mile-long shower of fragments into the Wisconsin countryside.

The Killgores, along with their daughter and son-in-law, Laura and Nick Center, drove straight through from Arizona to Wisconsin almost as soon as they heard about it.

They were not alone. Marvin Killgore said there were about 100 other meteorite hunters in Mineral Point the day they arrived, combing through the freshly plowed fields, grass-lined fences and roadways for a prize.

Mineral Point, a farm community midway between Madison and Dubuque, Iowa, had become Ground Zero for the meteorite fall.

"The pieces can fall anywhere," Killgore said. "It's basically like tossing a handful of gravel into the grass and then see if you can find them."

Arizonans Find Largest Meteorite Fragment From Spectacular Midwestern Fall


Wisconsin meteorite, showing the interior structure.
Finding them generally involves a lot of walking.

"We have a metal detector, but there is so much metallic farm debris in the fields from tractors and other equipment that we just use our eyes and magnets," said Kitty Killgore. The magnets are attached to walking sticks that aid in finding meteorites made of iron or are high in iron content.

The Killgores found their meteorite on a road near a local candle factory. It had split into three pieces on impact, stamped with an impression from the gravel on the road where it hit.

A sample from the meteorite found by a local farmer was sent to the University of Wisconsin and found to contain traces of magnesium, iron and silica compounds, as well as other common minerals like olivine and pyroxene. It also contained iron-nickel metal and iron sulfide, minerals typically found in primitive meteorites discovered on Earth.

Some meteorites are valuable enough to fetch several thousand dollars on the market - part of the reason, Killgore said, why the number of meteorite hunters has grown dramatically in recent years as technology has made them easier to find.

Easier but with no guarantees. He said many people will spend one or two thousand dollars and a couple of weeks at a site and come away empty-handed. A few will spend upwards of $50,000 at a potentially rich site with hopes of recouping their expenses and making a profit.

Marvin and Kitty Killgore themselves have amassed one of the largest collections of meteorites in the world, more than six tons. The largest weighs nearly 1,600 pounds.

Selling a fraction of the collection could let them live comfortably. Their goal instead is to keep the collection intact and in Arizona to be used for scientific investigation. That will include some public exhibits as well.

One is scheduled for June 12-13 at the Foothills Mall in Tucson. The Wisconsin meteorite will be on display along with some major iron and stony-iron pieces.

Marvin Killgore said there most likely are larger fragments from the Wisconsin meteor than the one he found, and pieces of it will show up for years to come. But over time those fragments will have weathered, he said.

"This one is relatively pristine, handled by very few human hands," he said. "And it hasn't been on Earth all that long. It's exciting to be the first one to see something like this, to pick it up and hold it in your hand, and to know that it just came from somewhere away from here. It's pretty awsome."

Provided by University of Arizona
Encounters of another kind: meteorite chunk falls on Oslo ... falls.html
March 12th, 2012 in Space & Earth / Space Exploration

An apparent meteorite that split in two after hitting the roof of a cottage in central Oslo. A Norwegian family was flabbergasted to find that what appeared to be a piece of a meteorite had crashed through the roof of their allotment garden hut in the middle of Oslo, media reports said Monday.
A Norwegian family was flabbergasted to find that what appeared to be a piece of a meteorite had crashed through the roof of their allotment garden hut in the middle of Oslo, media reported Monday.

The rock weighing 585 grammes (one pound, four ounces), which split in two, probably detached from a meteorite observed over Norway on March 1, experts said, and had landed on the empty hut in the Thomassen family's allotment in a working-class neighbourhood of the Norwegian capital.

Astrophysicist Knut Joergen Roed Oedegaard and his wife Anne Mette Sannes, a meteorite enthusiast, identified the object as a breccia, or a rock composed of broken fragments of minerals or rock.

"It is a sensation in more than one way. On one hand because it is rare that a piece of meteorite goes through a roof and on the other hand because it is a breccia, which is even harder to find," Sannes told AFP.
She said the owners of the meteorite pieces wanted to keep them in Norway, maybe in a museum.

Anne Margrethe Thomassen looks at what is thought to be a meteorite that split in two after hitting the roof of her cottage in central Oslo at the weekend. The rock probably detached from a meteorite observed over Norway on March 1, experts said.

Meteorites speed through space and generally break up as they enter our atmosphere, but it is extremely rare for the debris to fall on inhabited areas, according to Serge Koutchmy, a researcher at the Paris Astrophysical Institute.

"This family is very lucky," Koutchmy told AFP.
"First off because the piece of meteorite did not cause much damage, but also because it is worth a small fortune," he said.

A meteorite from Mars, for instance, can fetch around 5,000 kroner (670 euros, $876) per gramme, according to geophysicist Hans Amundsen quoted on the website of the Verdens Gang daily, adding though that it remained unclear where the meteorite pieces that landed in Oslo came from and how rare they were.
Out of this world, quite literally: The beautiful and mysterious Fukang meteorite
By Lyle Brennan
PUBLISHED: 16:45, 14 April 2012 | UPDATED: 16:45, 14 April 2012

When it slammed into the surface of Earth, there was little sign of the beauty that lay inside.
But cutting the Fukang meteorite open yielded a breathtaking sight.
Within the rock, translucent golden crystals of a mineral called olivine gleamed among a silvery honeycomb of nickel-iron.

The rare meteorite weighed about the same as a hatchback when it was discovered in 2000, in the Gobi Desert in China's Xinjiang Province.
It has since been divided into slices which give the effect of stained glass when the sun shines through them.
An anonymous collector holds the largest portion, which weighs 925lb. In 2008, this piece was expected to fetch $2million (£1.26million) at auction at Bonham's in New York - but it remained unsold.
It is so valuable that even tiny chunks sell in the region of £20-30 per gram.

Arizona's Southwest Meteorite Laboratory, which holds about 70lb of the rock, says the remarkable find will turn out to be 'one of the greatest meteorite discoveries of the 21st century'.
It says the Fukang specimen outshines all other known examples of the pallasite class, which makes up just one per cent of all meteorites. However, it is not the biggest - in 2005 space rock hunter Steve Arnold dug up a 1,400lb sample in Kansas.

The Arizona lab's experts say pallasites, whose make-up of half nickel-iron, half olivine gives them their mosaic-like appearance, are 'thought to be relics of forming planets'.
They are believed to originate from deep inside intact meteors created during the formation of the solar system about 4.5 billion years ago and very few specimens are thought to have survived their descent through Earth's atmosphere.
February 2005 saw the Chinese space rock transported all the way to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, in Tucson, Arizona.

The U.S. lab claims their polished slice of the original meteorite is the world's biggest pallasite cross section, measuring 36in by 19in.

Read more: ... z1slggIh77
Nazi expedition to Tibet, meteorites, Buddha statue, real Indiana Jones territory!

Ancient Buddhist Statue Made of Meteorite, New Study Reveals ... 104255.htm

Photograph of the 'Space Buddha' statue. (Credit: Dr. Elmar Buchner)

ScienceDaily (Sep. 26, 2012) — An ancient Buddhist statue which was first recovered by a Nazi expedition in 1938 has been analyzed by a team of scientists led by Dr. Elmar Buchner from the Institute of Planetology, University of Stuttgart. The probably 1,000-year-old statue, called the "Iron Man," weighs 10 kilograms, portrays the Buddhist god Vaisravana and is believed to originate from the pre-Buddhist Bon culture of the 11th Century. Geochemical analyses by the German-Austrian research team revealed that the priceless statue was carved from an ataxite, a very rare class of iron meteorites.

It sounds like an artifact from an Indiana Jones film: a 1,000-year-old ancient Buddhist statue which was first recovered by a Nazi expedition in 1938 has been analyzed by scientists and has been found to be carved from a meteorite. The findings, published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science, reveal the priceless statue to be a rare ataxite class of meteorite.

The statue, known as the Iron Man, weighs 10kg and is believed to represent a stylistic hybrid between the Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Bon culture that portrays the god Vaisravana, the Buddhist King of the North, also known as Jambhala in Tibet.

The statue was discovered in 1938 by an expedition of German scientists led by renowned zoologist Ernst Schäfer. It is unknown how the statue was discovered, but it is believed that the large swastika carved into the centre of the figure may have encouraged the team to take it back to Germany. Once it arrived in Munich it became part of a private collection and only became available for study following an auction in 2009.

The first team to study the origins of the statue was led by Dr Elmar Buchner from Stuttgart University. The team was able to classify it as an ataxite, a rare class of iron meteorite with high contents of nickel.

"The statue was chiseled from an iron meteorite, from a fragment of the Chinga meteorite which crashed into the border areas between Mongolia and Siberia about 15.000 years ago. "While the first debris was officially discovered in 1913 by gold prospectors, we believe that this individual meteorite fragment was collected many centuries before," said Dr Buchner.

Meteorites inspired worship from many ancient cultures ranging from the Inuit's of Greenland to the aborigines of Australia. Even today one of the most famous worship sites in the world, Mecca in Saudi Arabia, is based upon the Black Stone, believed to be a stony meteorite. Dr Buchner's team believe the Iron Man originated from the Bon culture of the 11th Century"The Iron Man statue is the only known illustration of a human figure to be carved into a meteorite, which means we have nothing to compare it to when assessing value," said Dr Buchner. "Its origins alone may value it at $20,000; however, if our estimation of its age is correct and it is nearly a thousand years old it could be invaluable."

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Stuttgart, via AlphaGalileo.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

Elmar Buchner, Martin Schmieder, Gero Kurat, Franz Brandstätter, Utz Kramar, Theo Ntaflos, Jörg Kröchert. Buddha from space: An ancient object of art made of a Chinga iron meteorite fragment. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1945-5100.2012.01409.x

Edit to amend title.
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Even now someone is pitching the movie - truly amazing find.
Isnt that delightfully amazing?

The Nazis did have an interest in Tibet, but apparently more Bon than Buddhist...this fits.
Van-sized space rock is a cosmic oddball ... dball.html

19:00 20 December 2012 by Lisa Grossman

The shattered remains of a high-profile space rock are oddly low in organic materials, the raw ingredients for life. The discovery adds a slight wrinkle to the theory that early Earth was seeded with organics by meteorite impacts.

In April a van-sized meteor was seen streaking over northern California and Nevada in broad daylight. The fireball exploded with a sonic boom and sprayed the region with fragments. Videos, photographs and weather radar data allowed the meteor's trajectory to be reconstructed, and teams quickly mobilised to search for pieces in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northern California.

Researchers readily identified the meteorites as rare CM chondrites, thought to be one of the oldest types of rock in the universe. "Because the meteorites were discovered so freshly, for the first time we had a chance to study this type of meteorite in a pristine form," says Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, who led the search effort and the subsequent study of the space rocks.

Jenniskens personally found a fragment in a parking lot, where it remained relatively free of soil contaminants. "That's the best you could hope for, other than landing in a freezer," says Daniel Glavin of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Battered past

CM chondrites make up only about 1 per cent of known meteorites. Most of them contain plenty of organic materials, including amino acids, the building blocks of life on Earth.

Jenniskens and colleagues found that the California fragments also have amino acids, including some not found naturally on Earth. But in three rocks collected before a heavy rainstorm, which bathed the other pieces in earthly contaminants, organics are less abundant by a factor of 1000 than in previously studied CM chondrites.

These three rocks could not have lost organics due to space "weathering": analysis of the meteorites' exposure to cosmic rays suggests the original meteor was flying through space for only about 50,000 years before hitting Earth.

Based on its trajectory and its relatively short flight time, Jenniskens thinks the meteor can be traced back to a family of asteroids dominated by 495 Eulalia, a group known as a possible source of CM chondrites. It is probably a piece that broke off during an impact, revealing the relatively pristine material inside.

So what happened to its organics? Jenniskens' team found that the meteorites are breccia – smaller rocks cemented together – which suggests that the asteroid from which they came took a series of beatings. Those impacts, or possibly other processes inside the asteroid, could have heated it enough to destroy most organic material.

Limited delivery

The result might have implications for the organics delivery theory, says Bill Bottke of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

"It shows that not all asteroids can deliver sufficient quantities. One of the disappointments is that, from a prebiotic organic chemistry perspective, it was very limited," says Bottke. "But this is an unusual case. Most [CM chondrites] are loaded with organic compounds."

Still, studying the space rocks will help us prepare future missions to asteroids such as OSIRIS-Rex, scheduled to take off for asteroid 1999 RQ36 in 2016 and bring a sample back in 2023.

"In some ways, we've had a sample, a very fresh one, come to us," says Bottke. "This is a test bed for the techniques we'll use in that mission."

Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1227163
Rock is new class of Mars meteorite

A dark lump of rock found in the Moroccan desert in 2011 is a new type of Martian meteorite, say scientists.
Weighing 320g, the stone has been given the name Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034.
Its texture and chemistry set it apart from all previous objects picked up off the surface of Earth but known to originate on the Red Planet.

The researchers' analysis, reported online this week by Science magazine, shows the meteorite to be just over two billion years old.
The study was led by Carl Agee from the University of New Mexico, US.
"It has some resemblance to the other Martian meteorites but it's also distinctly different in other respects," he told BBC News, "both in the way it just looks in hand sample, but also in its elemental composition."

There are just over 100 Martian meteorites currently in collections worldwide. They were all blasted off the Red Planet by some asteroid or cometary impact, and then spent millions of years travelling through space before falling to Earth.
Their discovery was mostly chance (few were seen in the act of falling) but their dark forms mean they will have caught the eye of meteorite hunters who scour desert sands and polar ice fields for rare rocks that can trade for tens of thousands of dollars.

Virtually all the Martian meteorites can be put in one of three classifications referred to as Shergotty, Nakhla, and Chassigny after key specimens. Scientists will often refer to these rocks simply as the SNC meteorites.
Prof Agee and colleagues argue that NWA 7034 now be put in its own class.

This rock is a basaltic breccia in character. It is made of a jumble of fragments that have been cemented back together in the high temperatures of a volcanic eruption. There are many examples of Moon meteorites that look this way, but no SNC ones.

Geochemically, NWA 7034 is dominated by alkali elements such as potassium and sodium. This is precisely what the robot rovers studying basalts down on the ground on Mars also see. This is not a trait seen in the SNC meteorites, interestingly.

Prof Agee's team also see much more water in the new meteorite - about 6,000 parts per million. That is about 10 times more water bound into the rock than is the case in the most water-rich SNC specimens.
This says something about the environment in which the rock formed, indicating there was a much greater abundance of water to interact with the basalt.

"This rock is from two billion years ago and a lot of the SNCs are from only about 200-400 million years ago," explained Prof Agee.
"And of course those most recent times on Mars have witnessed a cold, dry planet with a thin atmosphere. A lot of people believe that early Mars, on the other hand, was a lot warmer and a lot wetter, and maybe even a harbour for life.
"So, what happened in between? When did this transformation to drier conditions occur? Well, NWA 7034, because of its greater age, may be able to address those questions."
Farmers Discover Rare Meteorite in Minnesota Corn Field ... esota.html
by Clara Moskowitz, Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 01 July 2013 Time: 11:39 AM ET

Bruce and Nelva Lilienthal With Discovered Meteorite

Pin It Farmers Bruce and Nelva Lilienthal proudly hold a meteorite they discovered in their Minnesota corn field.
CREDIT: Bruce and Nelva Lilienthal

For 40 years, University of Minnesota professor Calvin Alexander has been contacted by people who think they've found meteorites. They call, write, and come in to the lab of the curator of meteorites with rocks they think, or hope, are from outer space. Over four decades, Alexander has seen about 5,000 "meteorwrongs" that turn out to be regular Earth rocks. Until now.

In April, Alexander was contacted by farmers Bruce and Nelva Lilienthal, who sent the professor photos of a peculiar stone they'd found a couple years ago while clearing their corn field in Arlington, Minn.

The rock, which is about 16 inches by 12 inches (40.6 centimeters by 30.5 cm) across, and about 2 inches (5 cm) thick, weighs a surprising 33 pounds (15 kg) — about three times more than a regular Earth rock of that size. Its weight, as well as its unusual flattened shape and rusty surface, immediately suggested it was special. "I said, 'That certainly looks like a meteorite, but I need to see it up close to tell for sure,'" Alexander recalled. [Gallery: See photos of the Lilienthals' meteorite]

Iron and Nickel Space Rock Found in MinnesotaPin It A photo of the meteorite found in Arlington, Minn. recently by Bruce and Nelva Lilienthal shows the iron and nickel space rock, with a partly rusted surface. The stone was buried underground for more than 100 years, scientists think.
CREDIT: Nelva Lilienthal
View full size image
On May 30, the couple brought their find to Alexander's lab and allowed him to chip 0.02 ounces (0.6 grams) off the edge of it for analysis under a scanning electron microscope. The rock was iron, and contained about 8 percent nickel — a telltale giveaway. Iron objects on Earth contain almost no nickel, but iron rocks from space are usually between 5 and 20 percent nickel. The microscope also revealed what's called a Widmanstätten pattern of nickel-iron crystals that's unique to meteorites.

To say that the revelation was welcome news would be a major understatement.

"I am about to retire at the end of next year, and this was the first real meteorite that's been brought in," Alexander told "Yes, ma'am, I was excited. I am still excited."

Though they haven't spent decades waiting for something like this, the Lilienthals are coming to appreciate their find just as much.

"It's not something we were expecting to find, but now that we've found out what it is, it's been exciting to learn about it," said Nelva Lilienthal.

Her husband Bruce had come upon the rock two years ago during the annual spring field clearing, when the farmers comb over their land to pick up the many rocks that have been turned up from the frost over the winter.

"You pick up hundreds and hundreds of rocks," Bruce Lilienthal said. "You pick 'em up and you get your fields planted. When we found it, we thought it was kind of different and we put it aside."

The couple noticed the rock's unsettling weight and rare appearance, but didn't think too much of it at the time, and added it to their pile of interesting finds.

"At that point it was time to plant our fields again and we put it off until a rainy day," Nelva said.

Annotated SEM Image of Minnesota MeteoritePin It A scanning electron microscope image of the meteorite discovered in Arlington, Minn., shows the nickel distribution in this largely iron rock. The image also displays a Widmanstätten Pattern of crystals unique to meteorites.
CREDIT: Anette von der Handt, Electron Microprobe Facility, University of Minnesota
View full size image
Recently, they revisited the issue, and their son, who works for the University of Minnesota, made some inquiries at the school and was referred to Alexander.

Since the discovery of the rock's true nature, the object has taken on more importance.

"It's probably not the prettiest rock that we've got in the pile — it looks kind of like a burnt pizza — but I'm really liking it more," Nelva told "With all this publicity, it's becoming a favorite."

The future for the space rock is unclear right now. Because it fell on the Lilienthals' property, it legally belongs to them. They may decide to hold onto their meteorite as a prized keepsake, or they may not.

"It's a novelty right now," Bruce said. "The university wants to do more tests on it, so we'll let them do more tests and then we'll decide if we want to sell it or keep it."

Alexander would love to be able to study the rock in detail. He's reasonably sure that the object is another piece of a meteorite that was found in a nearby field in Arlington in 1894 — the two rocks have similar shapes and nickel content. But to tell for sure, a larger chunk of the object would have to be cut off and examined.

The meteorite offers some tantalizing scientific possibilities, Alexander said. For one thing, he'd like to compare the weathering and rusting on the surface of this rock to the 1984 meteorite, which was buried for about 100 years less time before being found.

The meteorite also appears to belong to a rare class of non-magnetic meteorites that originated in melt pools on asteroids created by impacts of other rocks. Additionally, its flattened shape is rare, as most meteorites are roughly spherical.

"Both of those factors mean that it's potentially very scientifically interesting," Alexander said.

The Lilienthals, meanwhile, have a newfound interest in the rocks that turn up in their fields. If their meteorite is related to the 1894 find, it stands to reason there could be more fragments of the same meteorite out there.

"It's very possible there's some in there still underground, still in the field," Bruce Lilienthal said. At the very least, it's made their annual rock-picking-up duty a little bit more exciting, he said.

Follow Clara Moskowitz on Twitter @ClaraMoskowitz or @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+. Original article on
Interesting finds. Meteorites are inspiring. Their extra-terrestrial origins are fascinating.

Meteorites are often worth more than their weight in gold. I'm currently enjoying a TV series from the US called Meteorite Men. A Brit expat and his US pal work the plains of the world where debris scatters have occured from meteoroid impacts. Most of the rocks end up at local US geological and astronomical research institutes and others go to collectors and jewellery artists. I had mixed feelings about their treasure-hunting methods because they are contaminating the finds that scientists would much prefer to recover untouched, but then I thought the scientists pay well for people like these to bring in the stones, and they gather far more data than if they had to find these samples by themselves. When they sliced a cross-section off one of the big ones, the patterning was one of the more beautiful geological formations I've ever seen. The show is kind of a cross between Time Team, Mythbusters and Tomb Raider.

A taster from their show in Chile's Atacama dry zone here on Youtube:
Coming up to the 50th anniversary of a UK Christmas meteor:
The hunt for the Christmas meteorite
By Camila Ruz BBC News Magazine

The biggest meteorite to hit the UK landed in a small village in Leicestershire one Christmas Eve. Fifty years on, the search for its highly valuable fragments is far from over.

The last thing Percy England expected on Christmas Eve was for a 4.5bn-year-old meteorite to put a hole through his brand new Vauxhall Viva.
There had been no warnings of impending doom. The meteor plummeted through the Earth's atmosphere on a cold December afternoon in 1965. It could have hit Leicester but instead broke up over the nearby village of Barwell just after sunset.

The pieces found scattered across houses and streets on Christmas Day sparked a frenzied meteorite hunt. The fragments are still being studied by the Natural History Museum. They are also highly sought after by collectors. In 2009, a 2lb (0.9kg) piece made £8,000 at auction.

The value of the largest Barwell piece is not publicised. But it will be returning to where it fell half a century ago on Saturday. People are being encouraged to bring any meteorite pieces that they might have squirreled away to the anniversary event. "It would be brilliant if they could," says Dan Kendall, curator of the National Space Centre. But their stories of what happened are just as valuable, he adds.

Most recollections of the meteorite strike start - appropriately enough for Christmas Eve - with a bright light in the sky. It was followed by a sonic boom.
When a meteor travels faster than the speed of sound it creates a shock wave, explains planetary scientist Leigh Fletcher from the University of Leicester. In 2013, the shock wave from the Chelyabinsk meteor in Russia was picked up by scientists more than 9,320 miles (15,000 km) away in Antarctica.

In Barwell, the booming sound was heard by Fletcher's mother-in-law. She was taking a dog for a walk in a cow field when she heard a tremendous crash. A group of carol singers set out across the village soon after and felt something crunching under their feet as they went.
At one point, 26-year-old Rosemary Leader picked up a piece of the rubble to examine it under the light of the street lamp before throwing it away. "I was out carol singing, I didn't want to carry a lump of rock around," she says.

A few people didn't notice anything amiss until Christmas Day. The first thing Percy spotted was the hole through the bonnet of his new car. Other people had woken up to find similar holes in the tarmac, windows and roof slates.
Within a few hours the news had filtered out that a meteorite had crashed over the village.

"My dad immediately got on to the insurance," says his son Trevor. "They came back saying it was an act of God. So the next thing he did was to write a letter to the insurance company which began 'Dear Mr God'."
Percy was never paid. But others managed to cash in during the next month. The news took a few days to break properly. As soon as it did the town was flooded by meteorite hunters.

30 Tonne Meteorite Found In Argentina

Buried 5 meters deep. They're claiming it's the second largest ever found. The largest was 60 tonnes found in Namibia.

The discovery was made in an area called Campo del Cielo – which loosely translates to “Sky Field” or “Field of Heaven” – found near the border between the provinces of Chaco and Santiago del Estero, northwest of the capital Buenos Aires. This site is covered in craters from an iron meteor shower around 4,000 years ago. The largest of these craters is 115 by 91 meters (377 by 298 feet).

Finding micrometeorites in city gutters

... Now, in a study just published in Geology, a group of researchers have identified about 500 micrometeorites from an unlikely source: gutter sediment from the roofs of buildings in two of Europe’s capital cities.

Enthusiastic amateur astronomers have claimed to have found cosmic dust in such urban slurry before. Professional scientists, however, tend to be sceptical of such claims, and none has been verified. Jon Larsen, a Norwegian musician, refused to be discouraged. He collected detritus from gutters in his hometown, Oslo, and also from rooftops in several cities that he visited to play jazz or to attend conferences. Micrometeorites contain magnetite, a naturally magnetic form of iron oxide, commonly known as lodestone.

Mr Larsen’s first step was therefore to pass his slurry, about 300kg of it, past a magnet and keep anything that stuck. He then examined the 30kg or so of debris that resulted under a microscope, to hunt for cosmic dust. Micrometeorites melt as they zip through Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of around 12km a second. ...
Finding micrometeorites in city gutters

... Now, in a study just published in Geology, a group of researchers have identified about 500 micrometeorites from an unlikely source: gutter sediment from the roofs of buildings in two of Europe’s capital cities.

Enthusiastic amateur astronomers have claimed to have found cosmic dust in such urban slurry before. Professional scientists, however, tend to be sceptical of such claims, and none has been verified. Jon Larsen, a Norwegian musician, refused to be discouraged. He collected detritus from gutters in his hometown, Oslo, and also from rooftops in several cities that he visited to play jazz or to attend conferences. Micrometeorites contain magnetite, a naturally magnetic form of iron oxide, commonly known as lodestone.

Mr Larsen’s first step was therefore to pass his slurry, about 300kg of it, past a magnet and keep anything that stuck. He then examined the 30kg or so of debris that resulted under a microscope, to hunt for cosmic dust. Micrometeorites melt as they zip through Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of around 12km a second. ...
I have no idea why 'professional scientists' would disbelieve this.
It can be tested by going out on the street with a magnet and dropping it on the dirt. Some of the really small stones will stick.
I discovered this myself when I was a teenager. Took a magnet to school and accidentally dropped it on the ground. Years later, I worked out why the stones stuck.
I have no idea why 'professional scientists' would disbelieve this.
It can be tested by going out on the street with a magnet and dropping it on the dirt. Some of the really small stones will stick.
I discovered this myself when I was a teenager. Took a magnet to school and accidentally dropped it on the ground. Years later, I worked out why the stones stuck.
You can drag a magnet about almost anywhere and pick up pieces of iron and occasionally, small magnetic stones. I seem to recall (when living in Norfolk c 1969) that pieces of lodestone would turn up from time to time and people would bring them to school.
Hm...maybe. RAF Sculthorpe in fact.

Interesting. Seems they had some pretty heavy weaponry there in those days. Now USAF.

Don't know that part of the country there that well except the racetrack. Always go there New Years Day.