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Fluorescent Meteorites

Ultra violet lamps for fluorescent mineral collectors are getting smaller and lighter. Batteries are better and, in the case of long wave UV (UVA) lamps, fluorescent tubes have given way to specialized light emitting diodes. LED light is focused with either a tiny integral lens or with a conventional flashlight reflector. Small, strong, narrow beam flashlights are available. Any light for this purpose MUST have a filter to eliminate visible light generated by the UV LED. A widely known brand is Convoy S2+. It is widely available but usually without the essential filter and sometimes even ships without a battery (to say nothing of a charger). Way Too Cool in Phoenix sells their Torcia which appears to be at least as good and comes with a filter, two batteries and a battery charger. Read about it here.

The power and convenience of these flashlights are revealing minerals that collectors had not considered to be long wave fluorescent, including meteorites. This year in Tucson I saw competition between collectors for some nuggets of Norton County aubrite—surprising under UV. And there are other fluorescent meteorites out there for the persistent collector with a good light—notably eucrites and CV3s.

The Norton County aubrite is about 85% enstatite and 10% forsterite. Forsterite is the magnesium rich (iron poor) end member of the olivine solid solution series. It is the yellow fluorescing mineral in this sample. Some of the enstatite fluoresces blue. Field of view is 3cm wide.


Iron-poor pyroxene fluoresces as individual grains in portions of this slice and within clasts in this polymict eucrite. Lines of terrestrial contamination fluoresce too. Sample is 68mm wide. NWA 11516 Eucrite-pmict.


All the fluorescing lines here are terrestrial contaminants, calcium carbonate—caliche—deposited by water in cracks in the matrix and around angular clasts of this weathered breccia. Sample is 70mm wide. NWA 7900 LL6.


Under UV the darker, brecciated zones look quite similar to the lighter intact clasts except that they might contain a few more carbonate-filled fractures. This specimen also phosphoresces. Sample is 58mm wide. Dhofar 007 Eucrite.


Some calcium-aluminum-rich-inclusions respond to strong long wave UV with a weak cream color. Lower slice is 38mm long. NWA 7043 CV3.



This CAI glows a distinct blue-violet. Sample is 35mm wide. NWA 8160 CV3.



This provisional CV3 sports an interesting inclusion that sends back blue light in long wave UV. Sample is 50mm wide. NWA 5950 CV3.



Red fluorescing CAI in Allende. Sample is 36mm wide. Allende CV3.



A crystalline inclusion glowing red, white and blue under long wave UV. This is from a large find with a total known weight listed as over 100kg. Read more about this meteorite here, here and in a full thesis here. Sample is 80mm wide. NWA 4502 CV3.

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