An Article In Meteorite-Times Magazine

This feature is devoted each month to one of the personalities within the meteorite community. This month we are delighted to share an interview we had with Anne Black of IMPACTIKA which Anne opened for business in December 1998.  

What or who got you interested in meteorites and how old were you when you got your first meteorite?

I am a late comer to the world of meteorites. When I moved to the States (a long time ago) my interest was archaeology. But reality set in and I got married and went to work.

Many years later my 2nd significant other liked to fish, to me it was a very boring past time and while waiting for a fish to commit suicide I started looking at the rocks around me, and there are lots of rocks in the Rockies!

Of course I wanted to know what I was looking at and I soon discovered the Denver Mineral Show in September. It was like a candy store, with lots of rocks much prettier than the ones I had found, and all those colors!!!! I couldn't believe Nature could invent such marvelous colors, like rhodochrosite, azurite, and all the many shades of fluorite. Fishing was soon forgotten and we became determined rockhounds, camping, exploring old mines and ghost towns, mostly in Colorado.

Eventually I met Alain Carion at the September Show. Since he was working by himself (Louis was just a kid then) I started helping him doing the Show, and of course I could ask lots of questions about all those rocks on display.
 

Alain is a very good teacher, and the weekend hobby was growing by leaps and bounds. So was the mineral collection in the house!

Then Alain asked me to translate some articles he had written for Meteorite Magazine, and the first edition of his small book "Meteorites". So I started asking about those dark rocks and finding out that what they were lacking in aesthetics and colors they certainly made up scientifically. They had a story to tell just like the pot shards on archaeological digs. This was very interesting! Then for a few years, the organizers of the Denver Show placed Robert Haag right next to Alain's booth in the Show, listening to him was quite a treat. And a lot of fun too.

I have always worked with computers in my day-job, so I eventually convinced Alain that he needed to have a presence on the Internet, and Impactika was created. He supplied the pieces and I took care of the rest. That was exactly 4 years ago. Impactika has grown a lot since then. I have added Jewelry, Thin-sections, a calendar, prints, books. And frankly I never imagined then that I would someday have my name on the cover of a book. It is amazing what can happen when you pick up a rock.

 

To answer your question, I am not sure which was the first meteorite I particularly noticed, it might have been Tatahouine because it was green, or Montdieu after I translated the article about its discovery.
 

Do you have special areas of interest that you focus on in regards to meteorites (thin sections, photography, chemistry, age dating...etc)?

My scientific background is much too light for me to fully comprehend a large part of the world of Meteoritics, but looking at thin-sections through polarization is fascinating. And full of surprises: Tahaouine looks like it is made of peacock feathers! Esquel looks like an abstract painting!


 

For me the best part of the World of Meteoritics is probably the people who revolve in it. I have met some many bright, interesting, intelligent, knowledgeable people in this world. I am delighted to call some of them friends, and I hope to meet many more. I enjoy enormously all the social events during the Shows, particularly the Tucson Shows, it is marvelous to be able to chat with all the brains of the Meteoritical world, to listen to the exchange of theories and ideas.

Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?

My Family, that would mean my father, is not particularly interested. After commenting that they were not pretty, he did admit that they were scientifically interesting. He now cuts out of the French papers all the articles he finds about meteorites and mails them to me. He also stated that at age 87 he was too old to really get into yet another field of science.

Many years ago I got him interested by Archaeology and we still go every year visit something archaeologically interesting. That means Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Tunisia, Uzbekistan,..... We always do it the same way, we read a lot on the country and sites, fly there, rent a car and wonder off on our own for 2 to 3 weeks. The best way to travel. And yes, I have been in Tatahouine, Tunisia, but I did not look for pieces there. At the time I had but the vaguest idea of where it was.


 


Do you have any special approaches to collecting? (Type collection, only stones, only irons, only by aesthetics, etc. or any and all that you like.)

I do not really collect meteorites. At this time. I do have half a dozen or so that are not for sale but I keep them for other reasons besides being meteorites. They are gifts from friends, odd ones like the "Arrowhead" Sikhote-Alin I won from Eduardo at my very first auction.

On the other hand you could say that I have a large collection: all those pieces for sale. And I do look at them and enjoy their company while they are with me. In fact I have had the company of very distinguished pieces that I could not have had any other way, like huge Tatahouine, or Ensisheim, or Pesyanoe. Right now I have here a huge end-piece of Tafassasset, it tells quite a story: the side that was buried in the sand is coated by a thick black crust. the other, exposed to thousands of sand storms, is bare and as prickly as a pin-cushion. And that is just the outside.

Do you also collect related materials like impact glasses, breccias, melts, tektites, shocked fossils, native iron rocks etc?

I am interested by all the impactites because they have a story to tell too. In many cases we just don't understand what they are trying to tell us yet. But I am sure that eventually we will. Maybe we need a second Richard Norton, one who will do for impactites what the first one did for meteorites.