Center Researcher on Prescott fireball

Meteorite Collection Manager Dr. Laurence Garvie was recently featured on ABC 15 news, providing subject matter expertise on a fireball observed north of Prescott, Arizona, February 16th.

Over 65 witnesses to the event have logged details on the American Meteor Society website, and the Yavapai Sheriff's Office received reports from several local residents who heard a loud boom at the time.

 

Support the Center on Sun Devil Giving Day – Mar 19

 
March 19 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 19!
 
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 19 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.

Paragould

February 17, 2020, marks the 90th anniversary of the fall of the Paragould meteorite, an ordinary (LL5) chondrite that landed in Arkansas during the early morning hours of February 17, 1930.
 
The fall was observed by several witnesses hundreds of miles from the meteorite's eventual landing site in Paragould, Arkansas.  These included the engineer of a Santa Fe passenger train who was so convinced he had witnessed an aircraft fire that he wired back to suggest a search once he reached Topeka, Kansas, and a garage night man in East St. Louis, Illinois, whose proximity to the Park Airfield also led him to believe the bollide to be an aircraft in distress.
 
Paragould newspaper article from 1930
Belvidere Daily Republican – Friday, June 6, 1930, page 1: "Oliver C. Farrington, curator of geology at the Field Museum, inspects the Paragould meteoric stone, the largest ever seen to fall, which has just been acquired and delivered to the Chicago museum. It fell at Paragould, Arkansas, February 17, 1930, and penetrated the earth nine feet. It weighs 820 pounds."
Closer to Paragould, the detonation associated with the meteorite entering Earth's atmosphere caused livestock to stampede and startled residents. One account described "an explosion which jarred things like an earthquake" after seeing the fireball, noting that "the first blast seemed to come from about where the meteor had disappeared, and following this a roar, as though a train were passing, rolled back along the path of the meteor", with "rumbling being audible for perhaps half a minute".
 
The first Paragould stone, which weighed approximately 80 lb, was discovered later the same morning by a farmer near the town of Finch, as he went to collect his horses from the field. He contacted Dr. Harvey H. Nininger, an instructor at MacPherson College in Kansas, who made plans to drive to Paragould. The farmer then loaned the meteorite to the local high school for exhibit, and was dismayed to learn, soon after, that the school's science teacher had sold the stone to a collector from Michigan.
 
W
H.H. Nininger
H.H. Nininger (Photo copyright 1972, Paul S. Eriksson, Inc.)
hen Nininger arrived in Paragould only to find the meteorite sold and gone, he made the best of things by investigating the crater formed by the first stone (the farmer had preserved it, thinking it might be important) and the site of two other small stones' impact, and interviewing witnesses. Based on accounts, he surmised that there must be another, larger stone and plotted the meteorite's course on a map. Sure enough, an 800 lb meteorite was found shortly thereafter, resting in a hole 8 feet deep, directly on the line Nininger had drawn on the map.
 
While Nininger was eventually able to purchase this large piece of Paragould, the finder had solicited bids from others, including a large institution. As Nininger describes in "Find a Falling Star", this drove the cost of the meteorite high enough that he would need to sell it, himself, in order to recoup his investment:
"The Paragould meteorite had profound effects on our lives. I have never ceased to regret parting with it, but I had paid a price too high, and was forced to give up either the specimen or my dream of making meteorites a new vocation."
 
WIth the proceeds from the sale of the Paragould meteorite, Nininger was able to resign his teaching post and devote his time entirely to the science of meteorites.
 
At the time of its fall, Paragould was the largest ever meteorite recovered from a witnessed fall in the US, with a total recovered mass of 408 kg
 
Further reading:
 
Nininger, H.H. Find a Falling Star. New York, P.S. Eriksson Inc, 1972.

 

 

Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline extended to April 3

The application deadline for the 2019 Nininger Meteorite Award has been extended to April 3rd!
 
H. H. Nininger
H.H. Nininger (Photo copyright 1972, Paul S. Eriksson, Inc.)
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, 2019 and December 31, 2019.
 
The 2019 Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is midnight (MST) April 3, 2020. Applicants must be the first, but not sole, author of the paper and must be studying at an educational institution in the United States.
 
The Nininger Meteorite Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.
 
 

New paper on acapulcoite-lodranite meteorite group

Center Assistant Research Scientist Dr. Jemma Davidson and Center Interim Director Dr. Devin Schrader are co-authors of a new paper on the origins of the acapulcoite-lodranite family.

As defined by the Meteoritical Society, these equigranular primitive achondrites show subchondritic compositions, with mineral assemblages similar to, but distinct from, ordinary chondrites. Acapulcoites are finer grained than lodranites and some rare members contain relict chondrules. Based on their bulk composition and broadly chondritic mineralogy, acapulcoite-lodranite likely formed as the result of partial melting of a chondritic precursor.

The meteorite described in the paper, GRV 020043, contains more chondrules than any other acapulcoite-lodranite, and is the least heated member of the acapulcoite-lodranite family studied to date. The authors, therefore, infer that GRV 020043 may, in fact, represent the chondritic precursor to the acapulcoite-lodranite group and, thus, provide invaluable insight into this unique meteorite group.

The paper, “Grove Mountains (GRV) 020043: Insights into acapulcoite-lodranite genesis from the most primitive member”, is published in the journal Geochemistry, and available to read, free of charge until January 11, 2020.

Lodran meteoritePhoto: Lodran meteorite; copyright ASU/CMS.

McCoy T. J., Corrigan C. M., Dickinson T. L., Benedix G. K., Schrader D. L., and Davidson J. (2019) Grove Mountains (GRV) 020043: Insights into Acapulcoite-Lodranite genesis from the most primitive member.  Geochemistry 79: 125536.

 

Benton

January's Meteorite of the Month is Benton, an (LL6) ordinary chondrite that fell in York County, New Brunswick, in 1949.

The Benton meteorite's fiery entry into Earth's atmosphere was witnessed January 16, in overcast twilight conditions, and the meteorite itself was quickly collected.

Benton is the only meteorite from New Brunswick. To date, 2.84 kg (6¼ lb) have been recovered. 

2020 Nininger Student Travel Award application open

The Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University is pleased to announce the application opportunity for the 2020 Nininger Student Travel Award for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritics and planetary sciences.

The Nininger Student Travel Award supports travel to the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) of up to 4 School of Earth & Space Exploration undergraduate and graduate students to present their latest results.

For details on the award and application process, click here!

Apply for Nininger Meteorite Award

The Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University is accepting applications for the 2019 Nininger Meteorite Award for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing research in meteoritical sciences until April 3!
 
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, 2019 and December 31, 2019.
 
The 2019 Nininger Meteorite Award application deadline is April 3, 2020.  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 Meteorite Award recipient receives $1,000 and an engraved plaque commemorating the honor.
 

Center receives Martian gift

What's better than a Martian meteorite?  Two Martian meteorites!
 
The Center for Meteorite Studies was recently gifted two pieces of the meteorite popularly known as Black Beauty (NWA 7034 and NWA 10922), which is a type of rock from Mars described as a polymict breccia
 
According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 105) description of NWA 10922:
The stone appears to have been sitting in the desert soil only half exposed for a relatively long time, as one side appeared smoothed and shiny, with a sand-blasted, black exterior, while the other side was covered with light-yellow caliche. Upon removal of the caliche with diluted glacial acetic acid, a preserved, brown colored, glassy, flow-lined, fusion crust was revealed.
NWA 10922
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These two pieces, NWA 7034 (77.1 g, left) and NWA 10922 (67.2 g, right) are the generous gifts of Jay Piatek. Photo: ASU/CMS.
 
Black Beauty is a polymict breccia containing a diverse assemblage of igneous and "sedimentary" materials. The meteorite records a complicated history of volcanic processes, low-temperature alteration, and impact processing on Mars.
 
The bulk chemical composition of NWA 7034 closely matches that of the Martian crust as measured by NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Odyssey Orbiter. It also contains more water (approximately 0.6 wt%) than any other known Martian meteorite.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This video was made from CT scans of a slice (45 mm x 55 mm x 4 mm) of the NWA 7034 (AKA “Black Beauty”) Martian meteorite from the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies collection. The CT imaging of this meteorite slice was performed at the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

Center alumna headed to Antarctica

Having successfully defended her dissertation in September, Center alumna Dr. Emilie Dunham is preparing to collect meteorites from Antarctica this week!

As a member of the US-led Antarctic Search for Meteorites program (ANSMET), she'll be collecting meteorites from stranding surfaces along the Transantarctic Mountains. To date, ANSMET has recovered over 22,000 meteorites – these meteorites are used by scientists around the world, whose research is leading to new knowledge of the early Solar System and providing invaluable insight into its geologic history.

Photo: Dr. Emilie Dunham presents her research at the annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. ASU/CMS.

You can follow the 2019-20 ANSMET team members via their blog and learn about their preparation for living in extreme cold, what makes Antarctica such a great location to collect meteorites, and the team's progress through the field season.

Dr. Dunham is not the first to make the journey from hot Arizona desert to cold Antarctic desert; in 2012-13, ASU Professors Meenakshi Wadhwa (then Director of the Center for Meteorite Studies) and Tom Sharp were part of an ANSMET team that took 25,000 pounds of gear – including tents, snow mobiles, meteorite collection equipment, solar panels, fuel, cooking stoves and food – for six weeks of remote field camping in extreme cold conditions. Read more about their experience here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Prof. Meenakshi Wadhwa at ANSMET campsite, Mount Bumstead. ASU/SESE.