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Bob’s Bulletin – Vol.4 No.3 – May article

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 4 No. 3

A newsletter for unclassified meteorites found in the USA.

pre-thin-sect

When it comes to meteorite-hunting you don’t always get to chose what days you can go and hunt. Sometimes the weather is so bad you simply have to postpone and make other plans. But sometimes, there is a change in the weather for the good, and you simply have to drop whatever it is you are doing and head out for the desert and start searching for meteorites.

And that is exactly what happened last weekend (the 2nd weekend of May). After a Winter and Spring of chasing after fireballs and hopeful Doppler weather radar reflections (and coming up empty-handed), it was apparent that Summer had started in full-force, what with temperatures now in the 100’s and forecast to stay that way for the remainder of the month. But an unexpected change in the weather pattern, forced the forecast to relinquish two more days of “nice weather” before returning to an onslaught of 100 degree highs.

So, what else could I do? I dropped what I was doing and bolted out the door for the desert. And, yes, the weather conditions were perfect. Maybe a little cold at sunrise, when I started my hike, but it was much welcome as the temperatures started to rise. Perfect conditions for a long hike as the wind-speed rose to match the rise in temperature. Conditions were so good that I hiked much farther than I had planned. But I was well-supplied, so it didn’t matter that I decided not to return to the truck and camp out on the ground.

I woke up at sunrise the next day with the weather still perfect, and took advantage of this early start to delve even deeper into the desert. I have to admit that, all during the first day I found nothing. Literally, nothing but natural desert. The farther I hiked the less I saw of any trace of humanity; no footprints, no tire tracks, no trash, etc. This propelled me to hike even farther and deeper into the desert. I wasn’t discouraged in the least that I hadn’t found anything. But eventually, on the second day, I started to encounter some trash. At first, it appeared to be C-ration cans. Then it was empty rounds from a rifle. Then it was spent 50cal casings. Finally, I started to find more and more rusty shrapnel.

Apparently, I had hiked so far that I had entered into the backside of a military base. Not the first time this has happened to me. On the bright-side, I was no longer on public-lands. No longer did I have to concern my self with Department of Interior contradictory policies regarding meteorites. Yes, federal-lands, but administered by the Department of Defense. And to the best of my knowledge there are no DoD regulations regarding meteorites. (None, not even if you call it an “artifact”. Don’t forget, the U.S. is no longer a signatory to that pesky UN Treaty, thanks to the current administration.) Certainly, a “brave new world”.

Nevertheless, it was time for me to consider the long return trip back to my truck. I plotted on my GPS a “go-to” navigation back to my truck, so that I could take the most direct/shortest route. It wasn’t very much later along this back-track that I encountered some more shrapnel. At least, from a short distance it appeared to be a cluster of small shrapnel. (See image below.)

UU180122

So, I walked over to this cluster of rust and stared down at it trying to confirm that it was just shrapnel. But, I couldn’t. I moved over to the left and bent over the largest of the fragments, and stared at it for a while. My mind was taking a while to grapple with the fact that I was not looking at shrapnel, but at rock! A cluster of rust-colored rock fragments. I pulled out my lens and examined this fragment. (I have a magnet stick, but I don’t use it to confirm that a rock is a meteorite. I use a magnet to confirm that a rock isn’t a chondrite!)

UU180122

My visual examination confirmed there was a patch of relict-looking fusion-crust, and finally, through the desert-patina on the surface of this fragment, I spotted some orange-colored chondrules. Forgive me if I admit to not making a big celebration about making this find, but realize the long line of chondrites that I have written about that are still awaiting their turn to get classified. Besides, my mind was already preoccupied with how many hours it was going to take to get back to my truck, and how I was going to proceed with recording the recovery of all of these fragments.

UU180122

It wasn’t until I returned home and had time to take a couple fragments to cut a sample for a thin-section, that I realized the interior is packed chondrule to chondrule, and are well-defined. Realizing now that this meteorite could be a very uncommon chondrite, I decided to make this find the subject of my article for this month. A very last minute change of mind, but I’m doing this in the hope of generating some interest in getting this meteorite classified. Don’t be surprised if you should see this meteorite have a “Go Fund Me” page in the near future in order to generate funds to get it classified.

Because this is a recent recovery, this month’s edition of the “Bulletin” will be unavoidably short.

*** Note: The meteorite depicted in this month’s article was found by Bob Verish. ***

These chondritic stone fragments were found by the author on May 13th 2018. (Except where noted, all of the images in this article were taken by me.)

Since this month’s find is so recent, and a thin-section is still in the fabrication process, I will forego the “Petrographic Description” and go directly to the “Macroscopic Description”. In other words, this Newsletter will basically be a Photo Gallery. In any case, I hope the reader will enjoy the images.

Newsletter for an Unclassified (a.k.a., Orphaned) Meteorite found in the USA – Volume 4 No. 3 — May 2018

  • Macroscopic Description for Field ID#: UU180513
    • This meteorite comprises more than 10 dozen very weathered, angular fragments. The average size of these fragments is 10 grams, with the exception of three larger pieces. A third of the fragments are clearly exterior pieces by evidence they each still retain a patch of relict fusion-crust. Being sharp-edged, some of the fragments are interlocking (much in the manner as pieces of a 3-dimensional puzzle). Efforts are still ongoing to reconstruct the meteorite, fragment by interlocking fragment. This effort has resulted in each of the “three larger pieces” getting actually larger, but those three pieces still fail to interlock. As a consequence, this effort has shown that there are many more fragments still unrecovered.
  • Meteorite-Recovery Information for Field ID#: UU180513
    • Due to the on-going recovery of addition fragments at this locality for this meteorite, this edition of the Newsletter is going to forego (until it is “officially approved”) the publishing of “Recovery Information” that usually appears here. As of the writing of this article, there have been a total of 120 fragments so far recovered with a current TKW of 1,080grams. For now, what will appear here will be a gallery of images of this recent find, a chondritic stone (apparently unequilibrated) and given Provisional # UU180513.
    • Gallery of Images for Unclassified USA (UU) “Orphaned” Meteorite — “UU180513”:
      • PROV. # — Field ID No. — Mass — Specimens — Notes: UU180513 — CA180513 — >1,080g — >120 fragments — possible LL3.

Photo Gallery of the FRAGMENTS & TYPE-SPECIMEN for the meteorite find appearing in this edition of “Bob’s Bulletin” Newsletter:

UU180513:

UU180122-0

Above is the image of all of the fragments of “UU180513” currently recovered. The pieces on the right still retain some of the devitrified, relict fusion-crust on their weathered, caliche-covered exteriors. The smaller fragments on the left are from the interior of this chondritic stone and have no caliche.

UU180513:

UU180513

Above is the image of all of the larger fragments of “UU180513”, each of them retaining a patch of the devitrified, relict fusion-crust on the weathered, caliche-covered exterior.

UU180513:

UU180513

Above is the image of all of the smaller fragments of “UU180513”, coming from the interior of this chondritic stone and have no caliche, which means they are less weathered. An assortment of these fragments will comprise the eventual type-specimen. What remains will be retained for collectors.


UU180513

Above is an image of three of the more than 120 fragments from the “UU180513 – cluster”, two of which have had their cut surface polished (which shows a weathered, yet potentially unequilibrated interior).

UU180513

Above image is of a “UU180513” fragment after having a sample cut for a thin-section of the type-specimen, showing the potentially unequilibrated-chondrite interior. This specimen was made “wet” with denatured alcohol.

UU180513

This is a close-up image of the cut & polished surface for the above fragment (previous image). This is typical for all the other >120 fragments from the “UU180513 – cluster” (showing a potentially unequilibrated interior).


UU180513

Above is a close-up image of the other fragment which was cut & polished — one of the more than 120 fragments from the “UU180513 – cluster” (which shows a weathered, yet potentially unequilibrated interior). This specimen was made “wet” with denatured alcohol.

 

UU180513

Above is a close-up image of the cut & polished surface for one of the more than 120 fragments from the “UU180513 – cluster” (which shows a potentially unequilibrated interior).

 


UU180513-type-spec

 

Don’t be surprised if you should see this meteorite have a “Go Fund Me” page in the near future in order to generate interest in getting it classified.


The above “Newsletter” is just one example of a way in which to record U.S. Unclassified Ordinary Chondrite (UUOC) meteorite finds. Thankfully, these Bulletins have brought attention to the problem of the increasing number of O.C. meteorites found here in the USA, not only going unclassified, but even going unreported. Although this is not a permanent solution, this “stop-gap measure” is better than nothing, and is certainly better than letting this problem perpetuate.

In the meanwhile, I will do my part and start to submit the required type-specimens & thin-sections (for now into a personal repository) until a permanent “foster-home” can be found for what we know to be genuine, yet “orphaned meteorites”.


References:

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 4 No. 2 — In my 10th Bulletin, I published a single “Provisional (UU) Number” for an Unclassified U.S. meteorite find that, although it came from an existing Dense Collection Area (DCA), the finder could not get a NomComm-assigned provisional number assigned to his meteorite.

  • PROVISIONAL # — Field ID No. — Mass — Notes:
  • UU180122 — AZ180122 — 42.6g — single stone has had its GPS coordinates recorded.

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 4 No. 1 — In my 9th Bulletin, I published a table of six (6) “Provisional (UU) Numbers” (for Unclassified U.S. meteorites) that I assigned to some finds from four (4) separate localities:

  • PROVISIONAL # — Field ID No. — Mass — Notes: GPS cords recorded for each stone.
  • UU151212V — CA151212V — 129.6g — one of 22 fragments found in a tight cluster by Mark Bittmann, et al, (and this is the 1 fragment found by Bob Verish).
  • UU160618 — CA160618 — 52.5g — type-specimen cut & thin-section — found by Mark Bittmann
  • UU170407 — CA170407 — 16.3g — type-specimen cut & thin-section — found by Mark Bittmann
  • UU161111X — C161111X — 1,075g — sample cut & thin-section; main-mass with Bob Verish
  • UU161212F — C161212F — 18.25g — type-specimen cut & thin-section; main- mass with Bob Verish
  • UU161213H — C161213H — 70.8g — type-specimen cut & thin-section; main-mass with Bob Verish

*** Note: The above 6 meteorites represent 4 localities. ***

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 3 No. 1 — In my 8th Bulletin, I published a table of sixteen (16) “Provisional (UU) Numbers” (for Unclassified U.S. meteorites) that I assigned to some finds from an existing DCA, but were refused entry into the MBD:

  • PROVISIONAL # — Field ID No. — Mass — Notes: each stone has GPS coords recorded.
  • UU140705A — CA140705A — 2.0g — physically-paired to UU150110
  • UU140705B — CA140705B — 8.25g — sample cut & thin-section; main-mass with Mark Bittmann
  • UU140719 — CA140719 — 8.9g — sample cut & thin-section; main-mass with Mark Bittmann
  • UU140726 — CA140726 — 4.7g
  • UU140726B — CA140726 — 15.8g
  • UU140819 — CA140913A — 1.2g
  • UU140913A — CA140913A — 5.2g
  • UU140913B — CA140913B — 3.4g
  • UU140919 — CA140919 — 5.9g
  • UU140923 — CA140923 — 8.9g
  • UU141001 — CA141001 — 8.9g
  • UU141220 — CA141220 — 2.6g — sample cut & thin-section; main-mass with Mark Bittmann
  • UU141227 — CA141227 — 1.9g
  • UU150103 — CA150103 –11.6g — physically-paired to UU151228
  • UU150110 — CA150110 — 2.8g — sample cut & thin-section; main-mass with Mark Bittmann — physically-paired to UU140705A
  • UU151228 — CA151228 — 1.9g — sample cut & thin-section; main-mass with Mark Bittmann — physically-paired to UU150103

*** Note: All of these meteorites were found from a single locality, an officially designated DCA. ***

In all of my previous Bob’s Bulletins, I prefaced each one with an explanation of what I mean by the phrase “orphaned-meteorites from the USA”. I defined “orphaned” as being meteorite “finds” that are recovered in the U.S., but are not being recorded. Contrary to what you may think, these meteorites are being reported, but the finders of these meteorites have encountered resistance in getting provisional numbers assigned to their finds, even when the (obvious) meteorites were recovered from officially designated “Dense Collection Areas” (DCA). These meteorites are being ignored. This is in addition to the current practice by the official classifiers of meteorites to refuse to classify Ordinary Chondrites (OC). Without an “official” classification, meteorites cannot get an officially-approved name by the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society, and hence, cannot be cataloged. And hence, uncatalogued meteorites are “orphaned”.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of new U.S. finds are destined to remain orphans.

In my preface I would go on to explain that these “Unclassified U.S. finds” (UU) were being orphaned from the family of “approved” meteorites for the following reasons:

1) The lack of funding for U.S. researchers to authenticate, classify, and document/record these U.S. OC finds has resulted in several new [negative] trends, all which discourage finders from reporting their finds.
2) The increasing trend of commercializing the classification of meteorites by U.S. researchers has priced U.S. OC finds out of the market, and
3) The increasing trend of U.S. researchers to turn away OC finds, even when finders of U.S. OC meteorites are willing to pay for their classification.

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 2 No. 3 — In my 7th Bulletin, I published a table of six (6) “Provisional (UU) Numbers” (for Unclassified U.S. meteorites) that I assigned to some recent finds:

*** Note: All of these meteorites were found by one person (not this author) – all in one day. ***

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 2 No. 2 — In my 6th Bulletin, I published a table of the increasing number of unclassified U.S. meteorite finds and petitioned that crowd-sourced funding be used for volunteers to compile and record these finds for later classification and official-approval, until such time that this function can be properly funded with U.S tax-dollars.

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 2 No. 1 — In my 5th Bulletin, I published a table of all the unclassified finds from Coyote Dry Lake DCA that were reported prior to 2007.

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 1 No. 4 — In my 4th Bulletin, I reported that several U.S. researchers were volunteering their time and effort to record and publish meteorite falls and finds, such as, Creston and Misfits Flat. I suggested that this method of cataloging newly found US meteorite specimens could be expanded, but the main hindrance is that there is no funding for this kind of effort.

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 1 No. 3 — In my 3rd Bulletin, I proposed the idea of an on-line database for these “orphaned” and other unclassified U.S.
meteorites. This would have to be an all-volunteer effort, much in the same manner that the American Meteor Society has established the Fireball

Reporting System. This database would give finders a central point to report their finds and have a field ID number issued to them. This “Field ID” would reflect which US state and date of find. The function of this database should not be confused with already established processes of getting a meteorite “classified”, which is obviously way more labor intensive and costly.

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 1 No. 2 — In my 2nd Bulletin, I went into more detail about why I use the phrase “orphaned-meteorites from the USA”. I focused on the lack of U.S.-tax-dollar-funding and why no funding was going towards the classification of these particular meteorites. In hindsight, I now realize that I should have pointed-out that there is also a lack of funding for just authenticating and recording that a U.S. meteorite has been found. This function should never be confused with “classifying” a meteorite, which is obviously way more labor intensive and costly.

Bob’s Bulletin – Vol. 1 No. 1 — In my first Bulletin, I introduced the phrase “orphaned-meteorites from the USA”. I defined these “orphans” as being unwitnessed-fall Ordinary Chondrite (OC) meteorite “finds” that are recovered in the U.S. Unfortunately, the vast majority of U.S. finds are of this type. I went on to write that these U.S. finds were being orphaned from the family of “approved” meteorites for the following reasons:

1) The lack of funding for U.S. researchers to authenticate, classify, and document/record these U.S. OC finds has resulted in several new [negative]; trends.

2) The increasing trend of commercializing the classifying of meteorites by U.S. researchers has priced U.S. OC finds out of the market, and

3) The increasing trend of U.S. researchers to turn away OC finds, even when finders of U.S. OC meteorites are willing to pay for their classification.

Meteoritical Bulletin: the search results for all provisional meteorites found in “USA” – Published by Meteoritical Society – Meteoritical Bulletin, Database.

If you “Click” on the header titled “Assigned On”, it will change the table to chronological order by date of assignment, and it will show that – SINCE 2014 – there have been no new Provisional Numbers assigned
to a find made in the United States!

Meteorites of California
the list of formally-recognized California meteorite falls and finds.

My previous Bob’s Bulletins can be found *HERE*

If you would like to sponsor any of these orphans, and help in getting them classified, in order to get them entered into the Meteoritical Bulletin Database, then please contact me by email:

bolidechaser at yahoo-dot-com

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