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Published by: European Southern Observatory on May 07, 2009
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05/11/2014

T H E
M E S S E N G E R
(
,
N ew
M e t e o r it e F in d s A t Im ila c
H .P E D E R S E N , E S O ,a n dF .G A R e /A ,e lo E S O
N o.4 7 -
M a rc h
1 9 8 7
In tro d u c tio n
S to n e s fa llin g fro m
th e s k y h a v e b e e n
c o lle c te d
s in c e
p re h is to ric
tim e s . T h e y
w e re , u n til re c e n tly , th e
o n ly s o u rc e o f
e x tra te rre s tria l
m a te ria l
a v a ila b le
fo r
la b o ra to ry
s tu d ie s
a n d
th e y
re m a in ,
e v e n
in
o u r
s p a c e
a g e ,
a
v a lu a b le
s o u r c e fo r in v e s tig a tio n o f th e s o la r s y s \ue000
te m 's e a rly h is to ry .
Itis
e s tim a te d
th a t,o n
th e
a v e ra g e ,
e a c h
s q u a re
k ilo m e tr e
o f
th e

E a rth 's s u rfa c eish it o n c e e v e ry m illio n y e a rsb y a m e te o rite h e a v ie r th a n 5 0 0 g ra m m e s . M osta re

lo s tin
th e
o c e a n s ,
o r fa ll
in
s p a rs e ly p o p u la te d re g io n s .A s a re s u lt,
m u s e u m s a ro u n d
th e
w o rld
r e c e iv e
a s

fe wa s a b o u t6 m e te o rite s a n n u a lly fro m w itn e s s e d fa lls . O th e r sa red u e to a c c i\ue000 d e n ta l

fin d s .
T h e s e
h a v e
m ost
o fte n
fa lle n
inp r e h is to r ic tim e s .
E a c h
o f th e
tw o
g ro u p s ,
'fa lls '
a n d
'fin d s ', c o n s is ts o f m a te ria l fro m
a b o u t
o n e
th o u s a n d
c a ta lo g u e d ,
in d iv id u a l
m e te o rite s .
T h e
to ta l
num ber
o f fra g \ue000
m e n ts
is
c o n s id e r a b ly
h ig h e r,
s in c e
m a n y b re a k
u p
w hen
h ittin g

th e a tm o \ue000 s p h e re . M in e r a lo g ic a lly , th e y c a nb ed i\ue000 v id e d

in to
th re e

c la s s e s : s to n e s , ir o n s a n d s to n y -iro n s . F a llsa rela r g e ly s to n y , w h ile

fin d s
h a v e
a
h ig h
p e rc e n ta g e
o f
ir o n s . T h is
isd u e to
th e s to n y m e te o r\ue000
ite s ' fa s te r e ro s io n
a n d
le s s e r v is ib ility .
T h e
g e o g r a p h ic a l
p a tte rn
o f
fa lls
is
s tro n g ly c o rre la te d w ith p o p u la tio n d e n \ue000
s ity : m o s ta rere p o rte d fro m
E u ro p e a n d
N o rth
A m e r ic a .
F in d s ,
o n
th e
o th e r
hand, depend
m o re
o n
th e
p re s e rv in g

c o n d itio n s o f th e te rra in , a n d th e e x te n t to w h ic h it a llo w s m e te o r ite s tob es p o t\ue000 te d .

M ost
m e te o rite s
a re
fo u n d
b y
c h a n c e . A c tiv e s e a r c h in gis ,in g e n e ra l,
to o
tim e
c o n s u m in g
t o
b e

o f in te re s t. H o w e v e r, th e b lu e - ic e fie ld s o f A n ta r c tis h a v e

p ro v e n
t o
b e
a
h a p p y
h u n tin g
g ro u n d .
D u rin g
th e
la s t
tw o
d e c a d e s
s om e7 ,5 0 0

m e te o rite s w e re re c o v e re d by Japanesea n dA m e r ic a n e x p e d itio n s . T h e y c o m e fro m

a s m a lle r , b u t y e t u n \ue000 k n o w n n u m b e r o f in d e p e n d e n t fa lls .T h e m e te o rite s

a p p e a r
w h e re
g la c ie r s
a re
p re s s e d
u pto w a rd s a m o u n ta in
ra n g e ,
a llo w in g
th e
ic e
t o
e v a p o ra te .
Som e
h a v eb e e nIy in gin th e ic e f o ra s m u c ha s
7 0 0 ,0 0 0 y e a rs .
Supernova 1987A
in
L M C :
see pp.2 6 -3 5
F ig u re
1 :T h e
1 9 -k g
fra g m e n tin
it s
B O -e m
d ia m e te r e ra te r.
T h e
m e te o rite p ro tru d e s a b o u t
5e m
a b o v e
th e e r a te r flo o r a n d re a e h e s
a p p r o x im a te ly
1 Be m
b e lo w . Itis r e m a r k a b le
th a t
s u e ha s m a ll s tru e tu re h a s re s is te d e ro s io n d u rin g
1 6 6y e a rs , p o s s ib ly m u e h lo n g e r.
p o s e d ,
in
c ir c u la r
im p a c t
c ra te rs
(F i\ue000
g u re 1
a n d
2 )
o f
d ia m e te r
8 0
a n d
1 2 5 c m .In b o th c a s e s , th e c ra te r flo o rs
w e re
a b o u t1 5c m
b e lo w
le v e la n d
c o \ue000
v e re d
w ith
s ma lle r
p e b b le s
th a n
th e
s u rra u n d in g
d e s e rt.
T h e
e d g e s
w e re
w h ite , b r in g in g
in to
v ie w
a s o ft u n d e r\ue000
g ro u n d
m a te ria l,
ric h
in
gypsum .
T h e
c ra te r
o f th e
3 5 -k g
m e te o rite
d id
n o t
h a v e
a n
e le v a te d
rim ,
e x c e p t p o s s ib ly
to w a rd s
e a s t.
T h is
c a n
b e
c o n c lu d e d
fro m
th e
in s p e c tio n
of a
s te re o -p h o to
ta k e n
p r io r to

th e e x c a v a tio n . Its d e p th ise s tim a te da t 5 to 1 0 c m . T h e 5 - k g iro n w a s Iy in g , n e a r ly fu lly e x p o s e d ,o n to p o f th e

d e s e rt s u rfa c e , a n d
a p p a re n tly
n o t
'in
s itu '. T h e re fo re , w e
c a n n o t e x c lu d e
th e
p o s s ib ility
th a t
it
is
a
tra n s p o rte d
m a s s , o r ig in a lly fo u n d s o m e w h e r ee ls e .
T h e
5 -k g
m e te o rite
m e a s u re s
1 6
b y
1 3 .5 b y1 0 c m .Itisa n
e lo n g a te d
lu m p
w ith o u t a n y
s h a rp
c o rn e rs .
T h e

1 9 -k g m e te o riteisr o u g h ly c u b ic , 2 3 .5 b y 1 8 .5 b y

1 8cm .
O ne
o f
it s
e d g e s
is

q u ite s h a rp , c le a rly in d ic a tin g th e m e te o r itea s a

fra g m e n t.
T h e
3 5 -k g
m e te o rite
is
s lig h tly
b a n a n a -s h a p e d
a n d

m e a s u re s 5 0b y2 4b y1 5 c m .A ll th re e m e te o rite s h a v e

s p e c ific
g r a v itie s
n e a r 4 .6
g ra m \ue000
m e s /c m
3
,w h ic his ty p ic a l fo r P a lla s ite s .

T h e s u b m e rg e d p a rts o f th e tw o la rg e s p e c im e n s a re c o v e r e d b y a th in c r u s t o f c o rro s io n p ro d u c ts , d u e to th e p re s e n c e o f n itr a te sin th e s o il.

U n iv e r s id a d
d e i N o rte
inA n to fa g a s ta
h a s in s p e c te d tw o o f th e m e te o rite s a n d
c la s s ifie d
th e m
a s
P a lla s ite s .
F o r
re a s o n s
o f s im ila r s u r fa c e
te x tu re
a n d
s p e c ific g r a v ity , w e b e lie v e th a t a ls o th e
th ird
m e te o rite
b e lo n g s
t o
th a t g ro u p .
w a y to m a n y m u s e u m s a n d p riv a te c o l\ue000
le c tio n s ,a llo v e r th e w o r ld . T h e
la r g e s t
s p e c im e n k n o w n , 1 9 8 k g ,isinthe B rit\ue000
is h M u s e u m . A n o th e r fra g m e n t, o r ig in a l\ue000
Iy9 5k g ,isin C o p ia p o . T h e to ta l a m o u n t
o f re c o v e re d m a te ria l, p la u s ib ly o r ig in a t\ue000
in g
a t
Im ila c ,
is
c a lc u la te d
a t
5 0 0k g
(B u c h w a ld , 1 9 7 5 ).
\u2022 E d ito r's
n o te :
F .G .
is
th e
h u s b a n d
o f E S O 's
s e c re ta ry
in
S a n tia g o . M a ria m
G .,th ro u g h
w hom
s c ie n tis tsa tL a S illa w e re in fo r m e d a b o u t lh e fin d .
The New
F in d s
F o llo w in g
th e
v is it o f s e v e ra l e x p e d i\ue000
tio n s ,
it
w as
b e lie v e d
th a t
a ll
la rg e

m e te o r ite s h a d b e e n c o lle c te d .W ec a n , h o w e v e r, re p o rt th e re c e n t d is c o v e ry o f th re e

m o re
m e te o rite s , to ta llin g
5 9k g .
T h e
fin d
w as
m ade
b y
o n e
o f th e
a u \ue000
th o rs(F .G .)w h ois a g e o lo g is t'. D u rin g
w a te r p ro s p e c tio n
fo r
a
m in in g

e n te r\ue000 p ris eh e le a rn e d a b o u t th e m e te o r ite fa ll a t Im ila c . A

lo c a l r e s id e n t to ld
h im
th a t
s o m e m e te o rite s h a d b e e n fo u n d s e v e r\ue000
a lk ilo m e tre s s o u th - w e s t o f th e 'c r a te r '.
D u rin g
h is o w n
s e a rc h
h e
m anaged
to
lo c a te a fu rth e r th re e . T h e y h a v e m a s s e s
o f5 ,1 9a n d 3 5 k g , r e s p e c tiv e ly .
T h e
n e w
m e te o rite s w e re
s p o tte d
a t
3 ,2 5 0 m e tre s a ltitu d e ,o n s o m e p r o m o n \ue000
to rie s
w hic h
s tre tc h
to w a rd s
east and
n o rth -e a s t fro m
a 3 ,8 7 0 m
h ig h
m oun\ue000
ta in , M o rro
d e
L a
M in a .T h e
fin d
lo c a \ue000
tio n s fo rm
a na p p r a x im a te ly e q u ila te ra l
tr ia n g le , w ith s id e le n g th s o f 9 0 0 m e tre s .
T h e c e n tre o f th a t tria n g leis7k m
s o u th \ue000
w est
o f
th e
'c ra te r'.
T h e
tw o
la r g e s t
m e te o r ite s w e re Iy in g , o n ly p a r tia lly e x -
f
.
\u00b7
'
~
~
!
.
~
~
,
b
"
'
J
~
\u00b7
~
'
\u2022
/
f
~
v
~
F ig u re
2 :
T h e3 5 -k g
fra g m e n t b e fo re e x e a v a tio n .
T h e
d ia m e te ro f th e e r a te ris
1 2 5em .T h e
m e te o rite re a e h e d a b o u t6 em
above and
1 4e m
b e lo w th e e r a te r flo o r.
O th e r a re a s
w h e re
m any
m e te o rite s
a re fo u n d a re s o m e o f th e w o r ld 's d e s e rt
r e g io n s ,
e .g .
W e s te rn
A u s tr a lia ,
th e
N o rth A m e ric a n p ra irie s , a n d th e A ta c a \ue000
m a
d e s e rt
in
C h ile .
A t
th e
la tte r,
th e
a n n u a l p r e c ip ita tio n
is
lo w e r th a n

a n y \ue000 w h e re e ls eo n th e e a rth , le s s th a n 5 m m , w h ic h

o b v io u s ly
e a s e s
th e
m e te o rite s '
p re s e rv a tio n .
A s
a
re s u lt,
o n e
o f
th e
A ta c a m e n e a n
m e te o rite s ,
fo u n d
a t
T a m a ru g a l,
h a s
a
te rre s tria l
a g e
o f

2 ,7 0 0 ,0 0 0 y e a rs , th e o ld e s t k n o w n . D u r\ue000 in g th e la s t c e n tu r y , m a n y m in e r a l p r o s \ue000 p e c to rs

tr a v e lle d
th ra u g h
A ta c a m a ,
in
s e a rc h
fo r p r e c io u s o re s . O c c a s io n a lly ,
th e y
cam e
u p o n
iro n
m e te o rite s w h ic h
th e y
b ro u g h t
hom e,
o fte n
u n a w a re
o f

th e m a te ria l's tru e c h a ra c te r. T h e y g a v e m u c h le s s a tte n tio n to s to n y m e te o rite s , th o u g h

th e s e
u n d o u b te d ly
a ls o
h a v e
b e e n p re s e rv e d
inla rg e n u m b e rs .
T h e
A ta c a m a
d e s e rtis
n o te d
for its
d e p o s its
o f
n itra te s .
T h e s e
w e re
e x \ue000

p lo ite d ,o na h u g e s c a le , d u r in g th e fir s t d e c a d e s o f th is c e n tu ry .Inth e p ro c e s s , s e v e ra l m e te o rite s w e re fo u n d .

M any
C h ile a n
m e te o rite s
a re
o f th e
ra re
P a lla s ite
ty p e
(s e e
b o x ), fo rw h ic h
re a s o n
th e y
m ost
lik e ly
s te m
fra m
a
s in g le
fa ll.
T h e y
c a rry
nam es
w h ic h
c o rre s p o n d
t o
g e o g r a p h ic a l
lo c a tio n s
s c a tte re d o v e r a 1 0 0 b y 1 0 0 k m
a re a .In
m o s t c a s e s , h o w e v e r, th e fin d
s ite w a s
re p o rte d
w ith o u t
p r e c is io n
a n d ,
u n til
re c e n tly ,
it
w as
b e lie v e d
th a t
th e
m e te o r ite s h a d b e e n p ic k e d u p in s id e a
1 0 0
b y
5 0 0
m e tre
a re a
n e a r th e
s m a ll
s a lt- p a n S a la r d e Im ila c , a b o u t 1 7 0k m
fro m
A n to fa g a s ta . A t th is p la c e , th e reis
a
c ra te r-lik e
e x c a v a tio n ,
8
m e tre s
in
d ia m e te r . T h is m a y h a v e b e e n m a d e b y
In d ia n s
in
s e a rc h
fo r th e
fa n c ie d
ira n
v e in . S e v e ra l m in o r e x c a v a tio n so n
th e
n e ig h b o u r in g
h ills
in d ic a te
p la c e s
w h e re ,in th e p a s t, m e te o rite s h a v e b e e n
c o lle c te d .
S till,
th e
to p -s o il

c o n ta in s m a n y s m a ll iro n fra g m e n ts , w e ig h in g ty \ue000 p ic a lly 1 g ra m m e .

T h e re
is
n o
r e lia b le
a c c o u n t

o f th e m e te o r ite 's fa ll.T h efirs t fra g m e n ts w e re fo u n d

a ro u n d
1 8 2 0 .
B u c h w a ld
(1 9 7 5 )
e s tim a te s th a t th e fa ll o c c u r r e d
s e v e ra l
h u n d re d
y e a rs
e a rlie r. F ra m
g e o lo g ic a l
c o n s id e r a tio n s ,
M a rtin e z
(p riv a te
com \ue000
m u n ic a tio n )
d e d u c e s
a n
a g e
of about
5 0 0
y e a rs
b e fo re

p re s e n t. N e a rb y , a n \ue000 c ie n t In d ia n p o p u la tio n s c o u ld c o n c e iv \ue000 a b ly

h a v e
fo rg e d
to o ls
o r
o rn a m e n ts
fro m
m e te o ritic
ir a n . T h is
m ig h t p u t a
m in im u m
a g e
to
th e
fa ll.
H o w e v e r,
n o
s u c h
a rtifa c ts h a v e y e t b e e n
id e n tifie d .
A n o th e r
d a tin g
m e th o d
re la te s
to

th e d e c a y o f r a d io a c tiv e is o to p e s , a c tiv a te d b y c o s m icra yirra d ia tio n p r io r to th e fa ll. T o

o u r
k n o w le d g e ,
n o
s u c h
m e a s u re \ue000
m e n ts h a v e b e e n p u b lis h e d .
Im ila c
m e te o rite s
h a v e
m ade
th e ir
Im ila c M e te o r ite s
2
J u n e3
M ay1 8
M ay1 9
M ay2 0 -2 1
M ay2 6 -2 7
S in c e ,
fro m
th e
w h o le
E a rth ,
o n ly
3 3
P a lla s ite - fin d s
(a n d
2
fa lls )
h a v e
b e e n
d e s c r ib e d , th isisa s tr o n g in d ic a tio n th a t
th e n e w
s p e c im e n s a re p a rto fth e w e ll\ue000
know n
Im ila c fa ll.
T h e s iteo fth e o ld c ra te r-lik e e x c a v a \ue000
tio n
w as
a ls o
v is ite d .
In
th e
's p lin te r s
a re a ' a b o u t 1 kgo fm in o r fra g m e n ts(0 .1
t o
a p p r o x im a te ly
2 5 0
g ra m m e s

w e re c o lle c te d . A fe w p a rtic le s w e re fo u n d u p t o

1 ,0 0 0 m
n o rth -e a s t
o f
th e
'c ra te r'.
O th e rw is e , w e
c a n
c o n firm
B u c h w a ld 's
s ta te m e n ts a s to
th e
s h a p e
a n d
e x te n t
o fth e a re a .W e e s tim a te th a t it s till h o ld s
o fth e
o rd e r
o f
1 ,0 0 0 k g
o fm e te o ritic
iro n .
T h e Im ila c S tr e w n -F ie ld
T h e
e x is te n c e
o f
th e
s p lin te r s
a re a
in d ic a te s
th a t
a
la rg e
c h u n k
o f
th e
m e te o rite
s u ffe re d
a
v io le n t
b re a k -u p .
T h is m u s t h a v e h a p p e n e d a t a la te p o in t
o f
th e
tra je c to ry
th ro u g h
th e
a tm o \ue000
s p h e re . Its m a s s e x c e e d e d , b y fa r, th o s e
w h ic h
fe ll
fu rth e r
t o
th e

s o u th -w e s t. T h e re fo re , it s e e m s lik e ly th a t th e p a re n t b o d y

a rriv e d
fro m
s o u th -w e s t,
ra th e r
th a n o p p o s ite . T h e s p lin te rs a re ais a p \ue000
p r o x im a te ly
a lig n e d
w ith
th e
n e w
fin d
lo c a tio n s , g iv in g
a fu rth e r a rg u m e n t fo r
th e ir a s s o c ia tio n . M e a s u r e d
fro m
n o rth
o v e r e a s t, th e a z im u th
o fth e c o m b in e d
s tre w n -fie ld
is4 7 \u00b0+ /- 3 \u00b0.
The new
fin d s
s h o w
th a t th e s tre w n \ue000
fie ld
is
a t
le a s t
8 km
lo n g
a n d
a b o u t
1 km
w id e .
It c a n n o t b e
e x c lu d e d
th a t
som eo fth e m e te o r ite s c o lle c te d a lo n g
tim e
a g a w e re
fo u n d
in
th e

'n e w ' a re a . W e d id ,infa c t, n o tic e a s m a ll n u m b e ro f m in o r h o le s fro m

w h e r e itis c o n c e iv a b le th a ts p e c im e n s( in t h e 1 O -k g c la s s ) h a v e b e e n p ic k e d u p . In d ic a tio n s a re th a t th e s tre w n -fie ld

is
e v e n
lo n g e r th a n
m en\ue000
tio n e d . T h is to p ic , a n d o th e r a s p e c tso f
th e
Im ila c fa ll, a re d is c u s s e d
in

a fo rth \ue000 c o m in g th e s is w o r k b yE .M a rtfn e z , U n i\ue000 v e r s id a d

d e i N o rte . T h e to ta l w e ig h to f re c o v e re d m a te ria lis n o wa b o u t 5 6 0 k g . T o th is a d d s th e

e s tim a te d
1 ,0 0 0 k g
o f
s m a ll m e te o rite
p a r tic le s
s tillie ftin
th e
to p - s o il.
A lth o u g h
im p r e s s iv e ,
a t
le a s t
o n e o th e r P a lla s ite fin d
isla rg e r. T h a t a t
B re n h a m , U S A , h a d a m a s so f4 .5 to n s
(N in in g e r,
1 9 5 7 ,
P e c k ,
1 9 7 9 ).
It
to o
s u ffe re d v io le n t fra g m e n ta tio n .
A s te r o id a l O rig in fo r P a lla s ite s
P a lla s ite
m e te o rite s
fo rm
a
ra th e r
hom ogeneous
g ro u p ,
c le a r ly
d is tin c t
fro m
th e
o th e r ty p e
o fs to n y -iro n s , th e
m e s o s id e r ite s . T h e y
m ay
h o ld
c lu e s
t o
th e o rig ino fs o la r-s y s te m
b o d ie s . T h e ir
c re a tio n
is
th e re fo re
a
m uch
d e b a te d
is s u e
b e tw e e n
'c o s m o g o n is ts '.
O ne
th e o ry
s a y s
th a t
th e y
fo rm e d
in

a s \ue000 te ro id s , a t th e in te rfa c e b e tw e e n a m o l\ue000 te n

c o re
a n d
a p a rtia lly m o lte n
m a n tle ,
ric h
in
o liv in e
s ilic a te s
(G re e n b e rg
a n d
C hapm an,
1 9 8 4 ).
F o llo w in g
th e
a s \ue000
te r o id 's c o llin g , th e t o p la y e ro fs ilic a te s
m ay
h a v e
b e e n
s trip p e d
o ff,
e x p o s in g
th e n o w c o n tra c te d a n d c ra c k e d P a lla s i\ue000
tic la y e r to e ro s io n .
T h e a s te r o id a l o r ig in
c o u ld ,in
p r in c i\ue000

p ie b e a s c e r ta in e d b y o r b ita l c a lc u la tio n o fm e te o r ite fa lls . T h is h a s b e e n d o n e o n th re e

o c c a s io n s
(th e
fa lls
a t
P ffb ra m ,
L o s t
C ity ,
In n is fre e )
b u t
n o n e
o f
th e
m e te o rite s
in
q u e s tio n
w e re
P a lla s ite s .
G ro u n d -b a s e d
o b s e rv a tio n s
m ay
n e v e r th e le s s h e lp
s o lv in g
th e
q u e s tio n .
B y
in fra re d
s p e c tro s c o p y
th re e

c a n d i\ue000 d a te p a re n t-a s te ro id s h a v e b e e n fo u n d : 2 4 6

A s p o r in a , 2 8 9
N e n e tta , 4 4 6
A e te r\ue000
n ita s (C ru ik s h a n k a n d

H a rtm a n n , 1 9 8 4 , S c o tt, 1 9 8 4 ). T h e ir s p e c tra s h o w a n a b \ue000 s o rp tio n

b a n d
a t
1 .0 6l-lm ,
a s
d o e s
o liv in e
in
it s
m e te o ritic
fo rm .
A ls o
th e
g e n e ra l tre n d
o fth e
s p e c tra
is
c o n s is \ue000
te n t
w ith
th e
p re s e n c e
o f
a
m e ta llic
p h a s e .

Itisra re th a t a s te ro id s c a n b e a s s o c i\ue000 a te d w ith o n e p a r tic u la r ty p eo f m in e ra l. D e ta ile d

s tu d ie so fa s te ro id s a n d
com \ue000
e ts w ill,in g e n e ra l, re q u ire s p a c e c ra ftt o
d o" s a m p le - r e t u r n " m is s io n s . S u c h a re ,
infa c t, b e in g c o n s id e r e d . B u t p e r h a p s it
is
s u p e rflu o u s
t o
in c lu d e

A s p o r in a , N e n e tta o r A e te rn ita sinth e itin e ra ry : th e s tu ff m a y a lre a d y b einour hands. . .

P a lla s ite M e te o r ite s

M e te o rite se a n b e d iv id e d in to th re e c la s \ue000 s e s : S to n e s , Iro n s , a n d S to n y Iro n s . A s u b \ue000 g r o u po f th e la tte ris q u ite p e e u lia r:a n ir o n / n ic k e l m ix t u re

fo rm s
a
s p o n g e - lik e
s tru e \ue000
tu re . O liv in e e r y s ta ls ,o f e r o s s - s e e tio n
1to
1 0m m
fill o u t th e h o le s ,s o th a t th e v o lu m e
ra tio
m e ta l/o liv in e
is
a b o u t
1 :1 .
T h e
firs t
s u c h m e te o ritew as fo u n din1 7 7 1 /7 2b y th e
G e rm a n e x p lo r e r P e te r S im o n
P a lla s , d u r \ue000
in g h is tra v e ls th r o u g h
E a s t R u s s ia . P a lla \ue000
s ite
m e te o rite s a re q u ite
ra re : le s s
th a n
1
p e rc e n to f a ll fa lls a n d3 .5 p e rc e n to f a ll
fin d s b e lo n g to th is g r o u p .
M e te o rite C ra te rs

U p o n h ittin g th e g ro u n d ,a la rg e m e te o r\ue000 ite m a y fo rma e ra te r.I f th e te r m in a l v e lo c ity iss u ffie ie n tly h ig h , th e e o n v e r s io no f k in e tie e n e r g y w ill le a d

to
th e m e te o r ite 's

in s ta n \ue000 ta n e o u s e v a p o ra tio n . A n e x p lo s io n e r a te ris th e r e b y fo rm e d . S m a lle r m a s s e s m a y fo rm im p a c t e ra te rs .

1 3g e n u in e m e te o r e ra te rs
(o r e ra te r fje ld s ) a re k n o w n a n d s o m e
1 0 0
o th e rs a re e o n s id e re d p ro b a b le .T h e la rg e s t
is
th e
m e te o rite
e ra te r
in
A r iz o n a ,
U S A ,
w h ie h h a sa d ia m e te ro f 1 ,2 0 0 m e tre s . T h ird
o n
th e
lis tis
th e
m o re
th a n
1 0 0 ,0 0 0 -y e a r
o ld , 3 7 0 -m
d ia m e te r e ra te ra t M o n tu ra q u i.
T h isiso n ly6 0 k m
fro m
th e
lo e a tio n m e n \ue000
tio n e d
in
th e
a rtie le ,
b u t u n re la te d .
E u ro \ue000

p e a n p r o b a b le m e te o r ite e ra te rs in e lu d e th e 1 5 -m illio n -y e a r-o ld ,2 7 -k m -d ia m e te r N \u00f6 rd \ue000 lin g e r R ie s s tru e tu rein

W est G erm any and
T e n ta tiv e T im e -ta b le
o f C o u n c il S e s s io n s
a n d C o m m itte e M e e tin g s
fo r F irs t H a lf o f 1 9 8 7
U s e rsC o m m itte e
S c ie n tificT e c h n ic a l
C o m m itte e
F in a n c eC o m m itte e
O b s e r v in gP ro \ue000
g ra m m e sC o m m itte e ,
V e n ic e
C o m m itte e
0 1
C oun\ue000
e il,B ru g e s
J u n e4
C o u n c il,B ru g e s
A ll
m e e tin g s
w illta k e
p la c e
a t
E S O
in
G a re h in gu n le s ss ta te d o th e rw is e .
R e fe re n c e s
B u c h w a ld ,
V .F .,
1 9 7 5 ,
H a n d b o o k
o f
lro n
M e te o rite s ,
U n iv e r s ity o f C a lifo r n iap re s s ,
B e rk e le y ,v o l.1 -3 .
C ru ik s h a n k ,
D .P .,
a n d
H a rtm a n n ,
W .K .,
1 9 8 4 , S e ie n e e2 2 3 ,2 8 1 .
G re e n b e rg ,
R .,
a n d
C hapm an,
C .R .,
1 9 8 4 ,
le a r u s ,5 7 ,2 6 7 .
N in in g e r ,H .H .,1 9 5 2 ,O u to f th eS ky,D o v e r,
N ewY o rk .
P e c k ,
E .,
1 9 7 9 ,
S ky
a n d
T e le s e o p e ,
5 8 ,
p .1 2 6 .
S c o tt,E .R .D .,N a tu re ,3 1 1 ,7 0 8 .
th e n e a rb y 3 .5 -k m
d ia m e te r S te in h e im
B a\ue000
s in .T h e reis g e o lo g ie a l e v id e n e e th a t b o t h
a re
m e te o ritie ,
b u t
th e

p ro o f(m e te o ritie m a te r ia ljis n o t y e t fo u n d . It m a y lo n g s in e e h a v e w e a th e re d a w a y .

S tre w n -fie ld s
T h e
h y p e r-s o n ie
v e lo c ity ,
1 5
to
7 2km /

s e c ,w ith w h ie h m e te o r ite s e n te r th e E a rth 's a tm o s p h e re , e re a te s a s h o e k , w h ie h o ffe n fo re e s

th e
m e te o rite to
breaku p . M asses
le s s th a na fe w
to n s

w ill re a e h th e g r o u n d w ith s u b - s o n ie s p e e d ,1 0 0 -3 0 0 m e tre sp e r s e e o n d . S m a ll p a r tie le s

te n d
to

fa ll a lo n g s te e p e r tra je e to rie s th a n h e a v ie r o n e s .T h is e re a te s a e h a ra e te ris tie e llip tie d is tr ib u tio n p a tte r n , w ith p a r tie le s iz e in e re a s in g a lo n g th e m a jo r a x is ,in th e d ir e e tio no f flig h t.T h is s im p le

p ie tu re
h o ld s ,
i fju s t o n e
e v e n to f
fra g m e n ta tio n
to o k
p la e e .

S tre w n -fie ld s e a nre a e h e o n s id e r a b le s iz e s .T h e G ib e o n \ue000 fa lla t S o u th -W e s t A frie a e o v e re d a p p r o x i\ue000 m a te ly1 0 0 b y 4 0 0km .

M e te o r ite C o lle c tio n s
C o lle e tio n s
o fm e te o rite s e x is ta t m a n y
m useum s.
P ro m in e n t
b e tw e e n
th e s e

a re th e m u s e u m so f n a tu ra l h is to ryin L o n d o n , P a ris ,

V ie n n a ,
a n d
th e
A eadem y
o fS e i\ue000

e n e e s , M o s e o w .T h e h e a v ie s t m e te o riteo n d is p la yin E u ro p eis 'A g p a lilik ',a 1 4 - to n iro n fro m

G re e n la n d ,
n o w
a t
th e
G e o lo g ie a l
M useum , Copenhagen.
3

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