New paper on Martian meteorites

Center Ph.D. candidate Emilie Dunham is first author on a new paper published in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, examining two basaltic Martian meteorites found in Antarctica.

The goals of this study were to determine whether meteorites LAR 12095 and LAR 12240 were part of the same fall, as well as how they formed on Mars. In the paper, Petrology and geochemistry of olivine-phyric shergottites LAR 12095 and LAR 12240: Implications for their petrogenetic history on Mars, Dunham and her co-authors show that the two meteorites did, indeed, fall to Earth together, and that they likely began crystallizing in a low oxygen Martian mantle reservoir, underwent closed system crystallization, and were then trapped in the lower Martian crust before fully solidifying. 

This new research provides valuable insight into magmatic evolution on Mars.

Dunham, E. T., Balta, J. B., Wadhwa, M., Sharp, T. G., and McSween H. Y. Jr. (2019) Petrology and geochemistry of olivine-phyric shergottites LAR 12095 and LAR 12240: Implications for their petrogenetic history on Mars. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 1-25.

 

 

Earth & Space Open House - April 5

Join the Center for Meteorite Studies and School of Earth and Space Exploration for Earth & Space Spring Open House!
 
Friday, April 5, from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM on the ASU Tempe Campus
 
Open House:
  • Visit the Meteorite Gallery on the second floor of ISTB4, and touch real meteorites!
  • From 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, telescopes next to the James Turrell Skyscape art installation, a short distance from the building. will be pointed at celestial objects of interest.
  • Enjoy hands-on activities and take in a planetarium show in the Marston Theatre! 

For more information and a complete schedule of events for ASU Earth & Space Open House, voted best place to catch a meteor shower by the Phoenix New Times, click here!

DSC_0918Open House is in ISTB4, with telescopes located next to the James Turrell Skyscape art installation, a short distance from the building.

Open House is a rain or shine event!  While the weather may not always look promising for telescopes, there’s a fantastic array of interactive exhibits and displays inside ISTB4, as well as the 3D Astronomy Show!

 

The Center does not offer identification services for potential meteorites at Earth & Space Open House.

Event Schedule

6:30 p.m. — Doors open
6:45 p.m. — 3-D Planetarium show* 
7:30–9:30 p.m. — Telescopes open for public viewing
7:40 p.m. — Keynote speaker
8:50 p.m. — 3-D Planetarium show*
9:30 p.m. — Event ends

*The two 3-D planetarium shows and keynote lecture will be held in the Marston Exploration Theater. Please note that seating is first come, first served. Doors to the Marston Exploration Theater will open five minutes before the start of each show and the theater will be emptied following each presentation.

Sun Devil Giving Day - March 21

March 21 is Sun Devil Giving Day – 24 hours to show the world what you can accomplish when you join forces to support Arizona State University!
 
This day of giving is a way for you to support the Center for Meteorite Studies (CMS). Every dollar counts, and your gift helps support our pursuit of new knowledge about the origin of our Solar System through the study of meteorites and other planetary materials in a variety of ways, including ­ research initiatives, conservation and growth of the Center's meteorite collection, and educational activities.
 
You can choose to support the Center by visiting the CMS giving page anytime on March 21!
 
Check out real-time fundraising totals and your chances to double your investment on the Sun Devil Giving Day website!
You can get ready for Sun Devil Giving Day today:
  • Follow the Center for Meteorite Studies and ASU Foundation on Facebook and Twitter for the latest Sun Devil Giving Day announcements and contest information.
  • Tell your friends about Sun Devil Giving Day so they can be a part of the celebration.
Sun Devil Giving DayIndividually, each of us is part of ASU’s rich tradition of giving.  Collectively, we are changing the world and expanding our universe.
 
Join us on March 21 as we show the world what the Sun Devil Nation can do when we give together!
 
All funds will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for A New American University, a non-profit organization that exists to support Arizona State University (ASU). Gifts in support of ASU are subject to foundation policies and fees. Your gift may be considered a charitable contribution. Please consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of charitable contributions.

Peace River

March's Meteorite of the Month is Peace River, an ordinary (L6) chondrite that fell March 31, 1963, near the town of Peace River, Alberta.

According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 27):

"Dr. L. A. Bayrock, Research Council of Alberta, and Len Hills, Department of Geology, University of Alberta established that the fireball was traveling N 75o E, detonated at an elevation of 13 km, and broke into two main fragments. The smaller individual was recovered (as a number of fragments broken on impact) in the predicted fall area by J. Westgate and R. E. Folinsbee (Professor and Chairman, Department of Geology, University of Alberta) on April 24, after snow in the area had melted."

Folinsbee and Bayrock (1964) provide an excellent description of the circumstances of the fall:

"Peace river, as a detonationg bolide, entered the earth's atmosphere at 4:35 a.m. … creating a flash visible for over 100 miles, followed by detonations resembling sonic booms over a 4,000-square-mile area."

"… this was a Sunday morning and the Peace River country had not quite settled down from a frontier Saturday night. Peter Karpiak was up, administering to a sick horse; Alfred Bobier was looking for new-born lambs and calves … Mr. Gustav Paradis, lying in bed, watched the whole drama through a window. A number of Peace River citizens were returning from parties. To many slumbering observers it was only an awakening flash and a bang, which resulted in a prowl of the premises to see if the oil heater had exploded."

The olivine polymorph wadleyite was first identified in the Peace River meteorite in 1966; the high-pressure mineral is named for Australian mineral chemist Arthur David Wadley.

To date, over 45 kg of the Peace River meteorite have been recovered.

Peace River

Allende 50th anniversary

February 8th marks the 50th anniversary of the Allende meteorite fall in Chihuahua, Mexico!

Quite possibly the most studied meteorite of all time (referenced in over 14,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers), Allende is a (CV3) carbonaceous chondrite known for its abundant calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions, which provide information on processes in the Early Solar System.  Allende also contains presolar grains, which predate the formation of the Earth, and even our Sun!

Clarke et al (1971) describes the meteorite fall in detail

"In the early morning of Saturday, 8 February 1969 (between 0105 and 0110 Central Standard Time), a brilliant fireball was observed over much of northern Mexico and adjacent areas of Texas and New Mexico. The most spectacular phenomena were centered around the city of Hidalgo del Parral in the south-central part of the state of Chihuahua. The fireball approached from the south-southwest, and as it neared its terminal point the brilliant light was accompanied by tremendous detonations and a strong air blast. Thousands of individual meteoritic stones rained down over a large area of rural Mexico. One weighing 15 kg fell within four meters of a house in the town of Pueblito de Allende, 35 km east of Parral. This stone was broken up, and pieces taken to the office of the newspaper "El Correo de Parral" the same day; the news of an important meteorite fall was published that evening."

The amount of material and size of the resulting strewnfield made Allende one of the largest recorded stony meteorite fall in history – to date, over 2 t of the Allende meteorite has been collected.

Photo: Allende meteorite drawer, L. Garvie/CMS/ASU.

Shortly after the meteorite fall, a mineral dealer from Mexico, known for bringing many interesting mineral samples to Arizona, arrived at the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies in a pickup truck with many Allende specimens. Soon, two Center graduate students were on their way to Chihuahua where, with the aid of local farmers, they were successful in retrieving some of the abundant Allende pieces.

Fortuitously, the first NASA Apollo sample return mission took place just months after the fall, and spurred the construction of special "clean" laboratories to contain any potential contamination from the lunar samples.  These clean laboratories proved the ideal environment for analyses of the newly fallen Allende meteorite, as they protected the space rocks from terrestrial contamination.

These analyses continue, five decades later, as the Allende meteorite continues to provide key insight into the early Solar System. In fact, for over 30 years, clean Allende powder has been used as a meteorite standard in laboratories around the world:

"At the time our work was undertaken in late 1969 there were several types of geological reference samples available that covered the compositional range of most common terrestrial materials … For meteorites, however, such a reference sample was not available, and terrestrial reference samples were not always suitable for comparison with the analyses of meteorites."

"The Allende, Mexico, meteorite fall … provided a solution to these problems.  The meteorite was a fresh fall available in large quantity.  Early work established that it was a rare Type III carbonaceous chondrite that contained very little metal and was easy to homogenize.  The availability of this meteorite led us to undertake the preparation and distribution of a meteoritic reference sample. An important additional stimulus was the need of the scientific community for a reference material for the analyses of returned lunar samples."

Jarosewich, E., R. S. Clarke, and J. N. Barrows (1987)
Allende Meteorite Reference Sample.
Smithsonian Contributions to the Earth Sciences. 1-49.

 

 

Photo: Center graduate student Daniel Dunlap in the Isotope Cosmochemistry and Geochronology Laboratory. Photo by L. Garvie/CMS/ASU.

Visit the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies to learn more about the Allende meteorite, and see pieces of this famous meteorite on display!

 

Nininger Meteorite Award Deadline Feb 1

The Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is February 1, 2019.

Applications for the 2018 Nininger Meteorite Award, for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritical sciences, are now being accepted!

The Nininger Meteorite Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in the meteoritical sciences as embodied by an original research paper.  Papers must cover original research conducted by the student and must have been written, submitted, or published between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018.  Applicants must be the first, but not sole, author of the paper and must have been studying at an educational institution in the United States at the time the paper was written, submitted, or published.

The Nininger Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.

 

For more information, including application form, click here!

Bensour

February's Meteorite of the Month is Bensour, an ordinary (LL6) chondrite that fell in Morocco, in 2002, near the border with Algeria.

An article published in Meteorite Times magazine describes the fall, as recounted by an eye witness:

"I was out tending camels when at about 4:00 in the afternoon on Sunday, February 10, 2002, I saw a light in the sky to the west.  The object grew very bright, but it was not moving. Suddenly, the object exploded into many pieces and passed overhead, leaving a trail of dark smoke. A moment later, I heard loud explosions like thunder and thought that it was a military jet that had been shot down. I saw the pieces fall to the ground about 3 kilometers from my camp.  I told my children to guard the animals while me and my brother search for the crashed airplane."

Photo: The Bensour meteorite, by Flickr user Basilicofresco. Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Apply by Feb 1 for the Nininger Meteorite Award

The Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is February 1, 2019.

Applications for the 2018 Nininger Meteorite Award, for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritical sciences, are now being accepted!

The Nininger Meteorite Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in the meteoritical sciences as embodied by an original research paper.  Papers must cover original research conducted by the student and must have been written, submitted, or published between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018.  Applicants must be the first, but not sole, author of the paper and must have been studying at an educational institution in the United States at the time the paper was written, submitted, or published.

The Nininger Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.

 

For more information, including application form, click here!

Rowena

January's meteorite of the month is Rowena, an ordinary (H6) chondrite found in Australia, in January of 1962.

Over 34 kg of the Rowena meteorite were recovered after it was unearthed while plouging a paddock, in northern New South Wales; the plough had broken the meteorite into several pieces.  These pieces were sent from the Mining and Geological Museum, in Sydney, to the Australian Museum, where the Preparation Section reassembled them into a whole and chalked the outline of the original fusion crust (see photos, below, from Chalmers and Mason, 1977).

The meteorite was named for the nearby Rowena railway station.

Read more about the discovery of the Rowena meteorite here:

Rowena meteorite 1 Rowena Meteorite 2