April's Meteorite of the Month is Kayakent, an iron (IIIAB) that fell in April of 1961, near the village of Kayakent, Turkey.
Photo © ASU/CMS: The cross-hatched structure in the metal (called Widmanstätten pattern) in this sample indicates extremely slow cooling, on the order of 10o Celsius per million years.
The meteorite was brought to the Department of Astronomy of Ege University in Izmir, and described by Professor A. Kizilirmak, Dr. V. Buchvald, and Center for Meteorite Studies Founding Director Carleton Moore.
Buchvald recounts the circumstances of the fall in The Handbook of Iron Meteorites:
"According to Professor Kizilirmak the mass was discovered in August 1961, but was associated by the villagers with a burst in the air at an uncertain date of April 1961. No crops reportedly grew within a circle 2 m in diameter around the small impact hole, 30 cm deep."
85 kg (~187 lb) of the Kayakent meteorite were recovered.

Alumna Dr. Emilie Dunham awarded 51 Pagasi b Fellowship

Dr. Emilie Dunham
Image credit: Heising-Simons Foundation
The Heising-Simons Foundation has announced that ASU Center for Meteorite Studies and School of Earth and Space Exploration alumna Dr. Emilie Dunham has been selected for a 51 Pegasi b Fellowship in planetary astronomy.

Established in 2017 and named for the first exoplanet discovered orbiting a Sun-like star, the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship provides exceptional postdoctoral scientists with the opportunity to conduct theoretical, observational and experimental research in planetary astronomy.

Dr. Dunham is one of 8 fellows selected by the Heising-Simons Foundation for the 2020 51 Pegasi b Fellowship.

Congratulations, Dr. Emilie Dunham!

Read more about Dr. Dunham's fellowship research, here!

Read the full story on ASU Now, here!


Researcher Spotlight: Dr. Amy Jurewicz

Get to know Center researchers with this new periodic feature!

Dr. Amy JurewiczDr. Amy Jurewicz is an Assistant Research Profes­sor in the ASU Center for Meteorite Studies (CMS) and School of Earth and Space Exploration. Her research in the Center is focused on the recovery, analysis, and interpretation of materials from the NASA Genesis mission, which collected solar wind samples for two years prior to a hard landing in Utah upon its return to Earth.

Solar wind samples are a good surrogate for the solar nebula because a preponderance of scientific evidence suggests that the outer layer of the Sun preserves the composition of the early solar nebula.

For most rock-forming elements, the process of solar wind ejection from the Sun does, however, cause significant fractionation of some elements and isotopes. So, Genesis research requires collaboration with solar physicists and, in addition to finding a surrogate for the solar nebula, provides information on solar processes.

CMS: How were you first drawn to meteoritics, cosmochemistry, and NASA?
Jurewicz: My undergraduate degree was a BA in geology (Phi Beta Kappa) from Occidental College, but I took classes at Caltech, a nearby school, where I considered going as a grad student in paleontology under H. Lowenstam. I wasn’t accepted at Caltech for grad school because I managed to graduate Occidental without any chemistry. My graduate work was primarily at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI; Troy, NY), first in structural geology (microstructure) with M. Brian Bayly, and I took classes with W. Means at SUNY Albany. I started chemistry by taking graduate-level physical chemistry. Then, after a short stint elsewhere, I returned to RPI and worked with E. Bruce Watson, doing high-temperature, controlled-atmosphere phase-equilibrium and diffusion experiments for my PhD.

It seemed like every kid of my generation wanted to be an astronaut and developed a fascination with NASA. For me, that seed started watching the Apollo 11 landing, but didn’t develop until after my PhD in high-temperature experimental petrology of earthly basalts and post-doctoral research at the US Air Force Research Laboratory focused on fiber-reinforced ceramic composites. At that point, my husband and I had moved to Houston and I had the choice of being a ceramic engineer for a start-up company vs. being a post-doctoral researcher in the experimental petrology labs at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). The engineering position paid 30% more, but the NASA job was located next to the astronaut’s gym and I got to play with synthetic molten basalts. It was a no-brainer for me to go to NASA.

Dr. Amy Jurewicz
Dr. Amy Jurewicz inside JPL cleanroom, 2001.
I should note that, unlike most academics, in 1995 I took a break from NASA work, becoming an engineer for a company producing diamond-tungsten carbide cutting tools for the oil industry. My husband, the company's director of research, had also moved there from JSC. This joint career move was for the purpose of allowing me to more easily take care of my father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was only in 1997 (after a year of living at home trying to keep my father safe) that I returned to NASA. I was hired for the Stardust Aerogel Team at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the recommendation of Gerry Wasserberg, for whom I had done some diffusion work.

CMS: Tell us more about your work on NASA missions.
Jurewicz: There were 3 main missions: Genesis (solar wind sample return), Stardust (comet sample return) and SCIM (Mars dust sample return).

Genesis – Still active and “project scientist”. Unlike most JPL project scientists, I did not work with the administration. Instead, I characterized, purchased and/or fabricated collector materials and interfaced between the Principal Investigator and JPL engineering on some of the projects, such as the collector foil experiment.

Genesis Payload
Genesis payload being tested in the JSC cleanrooms. The stack of plates are arrays of solar-wind collectors (colored hexagons) to be deployed for different solar wind regimes (bulk on top). The gold dish is an electrostatic mirror designed to concentrate solar wind and embed it in the center target.
Stardust – My role on the Aerogel Team was aerogel inspector, which included physically testing the aerogel’s ability to catch particulates using the hypervelocity gun lab at NASA Ames.

SCIM — The mission was proposed several times, but was closest to flying in 2003 when it lost on the second round to the Phoenix Lander, but I would start again in a NY minute. I sequentially filled multiple positions from the project's inception through its many iterations, including JPL’s SCIM Project Scientist, Co-Investigator (2003), and lead on the dust collector (DUCE). The most fun was arcjet testing aerogel at Ames to study the thermal stability of aerogel during the aeropass, and participating in the design, testing, and fabrication of the aerogel collector modules to ensure that the martian dust SCIM collected would be suitable for scientific study.

CMS: You’re very active in both your research and public outreach; tell us why you love what you do.
Jurewicz: I am simply fascinated by the workings of the natural world. It doesn’t matter if it is the way a defect moves through a crystal or how the Sun makes (and ejects) solar wind. I am addicted to looking at data and seeing trends that explain processes, especially how materials are made and subsequently change.

I love telling people about meteorites and what they mean as bits of returned sample. I love pallasites and metallic meteorites because I can tell the unsuspecting that they are snapshots into the interior of a solar system body that might have been trying to form a planet. Then I tell them that the Sun is 99% of the solar system, that we can use it as a “fossil” of the solar nebula, and then hand them a piece of the Allende meteorite and tell them that they are, in essence, holding a piece of the Sun. How can you have more fun than that?

Read more about Dr. Jurewicz’s research, here!

In 2011, Dr. Jurewicz was listed as one of the 51+ Women in Planetary Science – read her interview, here!

Recent publications:

Jurewicz A. J. G., Rieck K. D., Hervig R., Burnett D. S., Wadhwa M., Olinger C. T., Wiens R. C., Laming J. M., Guan Y., Huss G. R., Reisenfeld D. B., and Williams P. (2020) Magnesium isotopes of the bulk solar wind from Genesis diamond-like carbon films. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 1-25. https://doi.org/10.1111/maps.13439

Burnett D. S., Jurewicz A. J. G., and Woolum D. S. (2019) The future of Genesis Science. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 54(5): 1092-1114.

Huss G. R., Koeman-Shields E., Jurewicz A. J. G., Burnett D. S., Nagashima K., Ogliore R., and Olinger C. T. (2019) Hydrogen fluence in Genesis collectors: Implications for acceleration of solar wind and for solar metallicity. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1111/maps.13420



Postponed: Sun Devil Giving Day

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.

Center researcher classifies new meteorite

Center for Meteorite Studies Collection Manager Dr. Laurence Garvie recently classified a new meteorite.

Zhob is an ordinary (H3-4) chondrite, that fell the evening of January 9, 2020, near Baluchistan, Pakistan.

According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 109):
A bright fireball followed by sonic booms was seen and heard around the northern part of the Baluchistan province of Pakistan, approximately 6:30 pm local time on 9 January 2020. Shortly thereafter, a stone fell through a house in a local village of the Mando Khel tribal area ~12 km NE of Zhob, Zhob District, Baluchistan province, Pakistan. The largest stone was found shortly after the fall by goat herders. Two more stones were subsequently found in this area.
To date, four fusion-crusted stones have been found: 6.309, ~5.5, 4.924, and 2.231 kg. The stones are blocky to rounded, with broad shallow regmaglypts, and covered with black matte fusion crust. The 6.309 kg stone is broken, exposing ~15 × 9 cm of the interior, which displays a breccia of rounded to sub-rounded, light-colored clasts in a light-gray matrix. The clasts range from 1 cm to 5 × 4 cm. The stone is easy to break and weakly consolidated. The measured density of a 24 g fragment that contains both the lithologies is 3.18 g/cm3.
The exposed surface of the 6.309 kg stone has an earthy luster, with scattered small (<1 mm) chondrules and rare troilite fragments to 4 mm. No shock veins are visible.
Zhob meteorite
Photo by Laurence Garvie/CMS/ASU.

Cancelled: Earth & Space Open House

Note that this event has been cancelled.

Friday, March 27, 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! 

DSC_0918For 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!

Open 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.


March's Meteorite of the Month is Peckelsheim, an achondrite (diogenite-pm) that fell the afternoon of March 3, 1953.

According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 46), a group of workers in the forest outside of Peckelsheim, Germany, heard "a whine similar to that of shell-splinter" around 2:30 PM. The meteorite hit a tree branch, and landed at the feet of the workers.

Peckelsheim diogenitePeckelsheim is classified as a diogenite-pm, meaning that it is a polymict breccia from the diogenite group.  Part of the HED (Howardites, Eucrites and Diogenites) group of achondrites, diogenites are believed to originate in the crust of Asteroid 4-Vesta. According to radioisotope dating, the HED achondrites crystallized between 4.43 and 4.55 billion years ago. Diogenites are plutonic igneous rocks that form deep in the crust and cool very slowly, resulting in large crystals.

They are named for the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes, who was the first to suggest that meteorites were not terrestrial rocks, and actually originated in space.

Approximately 118 g (just over 4 oz) of the Peckelsheim meteorite were recovered.

In 2007, NASA launched the Dawn mission to study Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres.  The mission's goal was to provide insight into the formation and evolution of solid bodies in the early Solar System using a visible camera, a visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, and a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer. The extremely detailed images Dawn captured of Vesta's surface enabled the compiliation of high-resolution global geological and tectonic maps of Vesta.

Watch the video below for some of the Dawn mission's greatest hits from Vesta!

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.



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.
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.