Here in the United States of America, if you want to get a meteorite classified, you have to pay some professional to get it done. It does sound like the American-way, but there was a time not too long ago that you could get a classification done on your meteorite just for the price of a type-specimen. But even back then, the cost for doing that analysis was coming out of somebody’s pocket. So, it should come as no surprise that the free-ride has come to an end.
It’s usually at this point that a U.S. taxpayer will disagree with my statements and try to convince me that their tax-dollars are paying for thousands of Antarctic meteorites to get cataloged. But the truth is ONLY Antarctic meteorites are funded by U.S. tax dollars. Which means that there are no funds budgeted by the NSF for NASA to catalog any other meteorites (not to mention their recovery or classification). What most U.S. taxpayers don’t realize is that none of their tax dollars are spent on the recovery or classification of meteorites found in the USA.
What this means is that, if you should be lucky enough to find a meteorite here in the USA, you’ll have to make a serious donation in order to entice a researcher to study your find, and in the end you will be paying for its classification. Worse, what appears to becoming common practice, is that researchers are turning down Ordinary Chondrites and are refusing to classify them, even when they are getting paid to do the classifications. And since the vast majority of meteorites that are found here in the USA are Ordinary Chondrites, the vast majority of future USA meteorite finds will never get classified or cataloged.
I call these meteorites, “orphans”, because they will soon be lost to the ages.
But, I’m not writing here to bemoan this new fact-of-life. The end of one era is always followed by another.
Instead, this edition of Bob’s Findings is introducing a new format. The new format will be more like a newsletter that announces the latest list of these “orphaned” meteorites.
Newsletter for Orphaned Meteorites from USA – Volume 1 No. 1 — January 2015
- Petrographic Descriptions
- Meteorite-Recovery Information
Meteorite Specimen Petrographic Descriptions:
Example Petrographic Description
|Field ID Number||N130912|
|Thin-section ID Number||V007|
|Dimensions||3.0cm x 2.25cm x 2.25cm|
|<ahref=”??”name=”Weathering Grade”>Weathering Grade||2 (very likely)|
|<ahref=”??”name=”Shock Stage”>Shock Stage||1 (most likely)|
|Macroscopic Description — R. Verish|
|The exterior of this ordinary chondrite has dark brown fusion crust. The interior is a dark brown matrix with low metal content and the chondrules and inclusions of various sizes.|
|Thin Section Description — R. Verish|
|The section exhibits numerous, small, but well-defined chondrules (up to 1 mm) in a brownish-black matrix of fine-grained silicates, troilite and rare metal. Polysynthetically twinned pyroxene lathes are NOT present. The meteorite is mildly weathered. Weak shock effects are present. Silicates appear to be equilibrated. This meteorite is probably an equilibrated H-chondrite.|
|USA Orphaned Meteorite Images for Specimen ID# N130912|
The above is but one example of a way in which I can make a list of what I know will be an increasing number of unclassified meteorites found here in the USA. Hopefully, attention will be drawn to what I see as a growing problem, and maybe some institution will offer to help get these orphans cataloged.
It may even come to pass that these orphans will go overseas to an obliging institution to get classified. It should be noted that many countries, such as Japan and China, classify and catalog 100% of the meteorites found in their country, and in fact, in the majority of countries, the notion that some meteorites are not worthy of being cataloged would be foreign to them. A future where meteorites, found here in the United States, may end up going out of the country permanently is very unsettling. But as each year goes by, it becomes more and more unlikely that funding will ever be budgeted for these orphaned meteorites.
Meteoritical Bulletin: the search results for all provisional meteorites found in “USA” – Published by Meteoritical Society – Meteoritical Bulletin, Database.
Meteorites of California the list of formally-recognized California meteorite falls and finds.
My previous articles can be found *HERE*
For for more information, please contact me by email: Bolide*chaser