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Greetings from the Sonoran Desert!

Members of the Center for Meteorite Studies recently participated in their own meteorite hunt! 

The expedition was part of an experiment to quantify the chemical and isotopic effects of terrestrial weathering on a Martian meteorite. In particular, Center Post Doctoral Research Associate Alice Stephant will measure the hydrogen isotopic content of certain minerals (olivine, maskelynite, and phosphates) by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), in order to evaluate the impact of terrestrial weathering on meteorites found in hot deserts.

Sonoran Desert TripThree years ago, 2 small fragments of the Tissint meteorite were "planted" in the Sonoran Desert in order to deliberately expose them to the elements. The first piece was recovered for analysis after 12 months of exposure, and the remaining fragment was the target of the team's recent recovery trip. Photo: ASU/CMS.Tissint recovered









The final fragment of the Tissint Martian meteorite (M&M for scale) is recovered after 36 months in the desert! Photo: ASU/CMS.