by Martin Horejsi of  Martin Horejsi's Meteorite and Tektite Books
An Article In Meteorite-Times Magazine


Cosmic Fabrics:
The Visual Texture of Meteorite Interiors


A picture is worth at least a thousand words. Not only that, a picture does not contain typing errors, grammar problems, misstatements, or can be easily edited to change its meaning. Plus, everybody understands the language of a picture.

Many times, I find myself looking at pictures of meteorite specimens in my collection even though I could be looking at the meteorite in person. There is just something about a photograph that captures the three-dimensional world in a form that often shares information more easily than the actual specimen. It might be that the image is larger than reality, or Maybe the picture is a less complex interpretation of the meteorite. Or Maybe it is just nice to have borders defining the edges of what is under study.

The photographs in this article show the interiors of 15 different meteorites. All of the specimens are listed in the Catalogue of Meteorites, and none of them are from Antarctica, North West Africa, or considered Saharan finds. The meteorites represent localities from five of the seven continents, and over half are witnessed falls. But what are they?

While this May seem a guessing game, my real intent here is to have the viewer forget about the name of the meteorite, and instead focus his or her attention on the interior features found in the picture. Each image represents a visual slice of the meteorite with a field of view one centimeter by two centimeters at the smallest, and two by four centimeters at the largest.

For those who want to know the actual identity of the pictured meteorites, the answers, although in a somewhat cryptic form, are found at the end of the article. However, prior to looking up the answers, compare your guess to the hints. If your guess does not match the hint, guess again. But most of all enjoy the images for the stories they tell, and the geologic beauty each meteorite offers us.

























 

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Hints:

Specimen 1: The classification of this locality was almost a perfect score, and it is neither from India nor an island.

Specimen 2: Since no other information was available, this odd meteorite was named after the museum in which it was found on display.

Specimen 3: Although from Africa, and appearing quite similar to many of the wonderfully brecciated specimens found in the Sahara Desert, this locality was a witnessed fall.

Specimen 4: This specimen is the type specimen for this type of specimen.

Specimen 5: This rare piece of space fabric has a split personality, one third Jekyll and two-thirds Hyde. It was also the second meteorite found in its immediate geographic area.

Specimen 6: The name of the US state in which this meteorite fell is abbreviated in the same way as carbon monoxide.

Specimen 7: This mixture of metal and stone comes from a US state whose name is two words, and the first letter of each word are found next to each other in the alphabet. But the letters are not M and N.

Specimen 8: Some thought this meteorite stunk when it landed here on earth, but probably nowhere as bad as the space capsule that did arrived back from the moon just two months earlier.

Specimen 9: Individuals of this locality grace collections worldwide, but rarely is the internal structure displayed.

Specimen 10: Originally thought to be another piece of the type specimen, it was later determined that this locality is really its own bird in the flock.

Specimen 11: This locality is not a widely distributed meteorite. In fact, almost all of this 1969 find is sitting on the shelves of UCLA rather than in Mexico where it was found.

Specimen 12: This meteorite did not float when it arrived here on earth. We know this for sure.

Specimen 13: Meteorites from this locality are found in almost every meteorite collection, but rarely in this form.

Specimen 14: Recently reclassified, this specimen’s petrologic number was reduced by 0.2, but that made all the difference in the world to collectors.

Specimen 15: Meteorites do not contain holes like a sponge, right? Well this one does, on the inside anyway. Good thing it was a witnessed fall.


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Answers:

To find the identity of the pictured specimens, you will need the 5th edition of the British Natural History Museum’s Catalogue of Meteorites by Monica Grady.

For each of the specimens, their position in the Catalogue is noted as a page number followed by a fraction. The page number is the number of the page in the Catalogue on which the specimen’s entry is found.

The fraction is the alphabetical position on the page denoting the specimen. For instance, if the answer states p238, 7/7, then the specimen is found on page 238 and is the seventh of seven specimens listed alphabetically on that page.

Specimen 1: p283. 7/7.
Specimen 2: p133, 3/5.
Specimen 3: p340, 4/6.
Specimen 4: p385, 1/5.
Specimen 5: p200, 5/6.
Specimen 6: p259, 5/5.
Specimen 7: p294, 1/7.
Specimen 8: p350, 7/7.
Specimen 9: p462, 6/6.
Specimen 10: p182, 4/7.
Specimen 11: p119, 1/6.
Specimen 12: p398, 5/6.
Specimen 13: p128, 5/5 (graphite nodule).
Specimen 14: p91, 7/7.
Specimen 15: p247, 2/8.


How did you do?

If you guessed 1-3 of the specimens correctly, you know more than the average bear.

If you guessed 4-8 correctly, you must be a seasoned collector.

If you guessed 9-12 correctly, you could be a museum curator.

If you guessed 13-15 correctly, you must have been a meteorite enthusiast long before the Peekskill meteorite fell.


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