Dubrovnik: A Lumberjack Meteorite from the land of Oak Forests

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Dubrovnik: A Lumberjack Meteorite from the land of Oak Forests
Meteorite-Times Magazine
Contents
by Editor
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Featured Monthly Articles
Accretion Desk by Martin Horejsi
Jim’s Fragments by Jim Tobin
Meteorite Market Trends by Michael Blood
Bob’s Findings by Robert Verish
IMCA Insights by The IMCA Team
Micro Visions by John Kashuba
Meteorite Calendar by Anne Black
Meteorite of the Month by Editor
Tektite of the Month by Editor
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Private: Dubrovnik: A Lumberjack Meteorite from the land of Oak
Forests
by Martin Horejsi
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Updated: Martin Horejsi’s Meteorite Books Website
A February 1951 Witnessed Fall: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Dubrovnik: A Lumberjack Meteorite
from the land of Oak Forests
Resting on a one centimeter cube, it is easy to see this sample of
Dubrovnik is not large. But according to the distribution listed in the
Catalogue of Meteorites, this piece is the seventh largest in any collection
anywhere. However, depending on the numbers you trust, approximately
94% of the Dubrovnik stone is still intact as the main mass.
Until most of the trees were cut down and used to build ships, the city of Dubrovnik was not only
surrounded by ancient fortified walls, but also surrounded by trees. Even the name Dubrovnik is the ProtoSlavic word for oak forests. Yet there had to be at least one tree still standing February 20, 1951 when an
L3-6 polymict brecciated chondrite fell from space at about 2:00 in the afternoon because it hit a tree. The
single 1.9kg stone was recovered after burying itself “several feet” in the ground.
According to Yokoyama and others, “Meteorites of regolith breccia preserve the records of formation and
evolution of surface material on the asteroids. With longer residence time, the surface material changes
its textural and mineralogical properties, so called “space weathering”, mainly due to cosmic dust
bombardment and solar-wind implantation.
In addition, cosmogenic nuclides are produced via spallation reactions between in-coming cosmic rays
and the surface material. Therefore, it is expected that the meteorites that have experienced heavier
space weathering contain higher concentrations of implanted solar winds and cosmogenic nuclides.”
Loads of activity in here! As you’ll read below, there is so much going on
inside Dubrovnik that a soap opera of events transpired to bring together
the eye candy others call an L3-6 polymict breccia.
Croatia claims only four meteorites recovered from within its borders. All are falls, but in an interesting
twist of synchronicity, exactly 200 years after the first known Croatian meteorite named Hraschina fell, the
most recent Croatian meteorite fell and christened Dubrovnik.
Immediately preceding the Dubrovnik meteorite’s arrival to earth, “a noise like a thunderclap was heard.” I
can only imagine the wondrous sound the compression waves made as they roiled around inside the
walled city of Dubrovnik. However, the combination of the historical turmoil of the region and the recently
deceased World War 2 might have made a meteorite fall not the first thing the citizens of the area thought
of upon hearing the boom.
Sometimes small specimens completely misrepresent the overall nature of
a whole meteorite. In this case, my sample provides just enough tasty
snippets of geologic activity to provide loads of enticing hints about how
beautiful a large piece would be.
Colors, regions, shapes, lines, darks, lights; the story is endless. In this
view alone, I can see the type-three chondrules on the left bumping up
against the jagged fragmentation of the type-six breccia on the right. And
the upper portion of the center, its anyone’s guess. The tides of matrix flow
light and dark, the grain size sifts between the microscopic and not.
In the inverted and brightened picture below, the wild west nature of this
stone is obvious.
In an article titled Petrology, Mineralogy, And Noble Gas Composition Of The Dubrovnik L
Chondrite Breccia by Yokoyama, et. al., a detailed inspection of the cosmochemistry of Dubrovnik is
presented resulting in a telling story of Dubrovnik’s cosmic history. Without adding much embellishment,
the story could read better than a dime store novel complete with car chases and love stories. Enough
talk. Here’s the text…
“Based on the results of a series of analysis, we infer the formation and evolution history of the surface of
Dubrovnik parent asteroid. First, the whites formed in the interior of the parent body during prolonged
thermal metamorphism at around 900. Then a large impact destroyed the parent body which excavated
the deeper-seated white to the asteroid surface and, at the same time, might have disturbed the
composition of Fe-Ni metals due to impact heating.
The dark material was produced with time on the surface by space weathering. The whites and the dark
were mixed due to repeated impacts. Mg-rich pyroxene in the dark would have incorporated from least
metamorphosed portions of the surface, or as in-coming meteoroids during the impact-induced mixing
processes, and the black melt pocket was also produced due to local shock heating. During impacts, the
dark and the whites consolidated together to form a chondritic regolith breccia. After consolidation, there is
no heating enough to degas noble gases.”
The scars of a childhood filled with abuse are visible as cemented
fragments; the shattered attempts at normalcy.
Although I feel bad that Dubrovnik likely lived in fear of more abuse, I hope
our excitement over its torrid past helps, even in some small way, to
alleviate some of the pain it experienced in the cold, dark, loneliness of
space.
The collection distribution of the Dubrovnik according to the Catalogue of Meteorites provides a different
picture on the small total known weight of this locality. Of the 1900 grams recovered from the fall, 1790
grams are in the Dubrovnik Museum in the form of a single main mass. After the 204g in the Vienna
Museum (ignoring the discrepancy in TKW), it goes downhill rapidly from there. 39.3g are listed as in the
AMNH in New York; 23.5g in the Field Museum in Chicago; another 23.5g in London; 22g in the collection
of the University of New Mexico; five grams in Moscow; and 3.8g in the DuPont collection.
Although many of the specimens of Dubrovnik listed in other collections are small, I suspect that many
samples have a sizable helping of crust just as mine does.
Since Dubrovnik fell as a single stone, most of the pieces initially removed
from the main mass will be heavily crusted. The lack of cut surfaces
supports the contention that this specimen was broken off either the main
stone, or a fragment from a larger sample.
Since corners and protrusions are the easiest to forcibly remove, two
things happen. First, the remaining main mass becomes more spherical
with Ensisheim being the prime example. And second, the removed pieces
often hold the corners and other interesting undulations from the initial form
of the meteorite.
A number of years ago, as I was negotiating an exchange with another collector, a Dubrovnik blip started
moving on the radar screen. Although not terribly old, this youngster’s earth age was easily overshadowed
by the desirable collection qualities including the low total weight and low distribution of Dubrovnik, the
interesting fall location and circumstances, the museum and collection documentation, the excellent
crust, and, of course, its coveted classification.
Eugene and Sharon Cisneros who run the Mineralogical Research
Company in San Jose, California. I’ve bought from them over the years and
always enjoyed their old-school (in a very good way) professionalism. None
of the flash and bloated showmanship so common today. Just quality,
service, and honesty.
I’ve known Jim Schwade for years so it feels odd to consider a card from
his collection as treasured piece of meteorite collection history. But it is.
The specimen label that came with this piece Dubrovnik is from the Natural History Museum in Zagreb,
Croatia. Back in 1989 I spent some time in Zagreb. What a wonderful place filled with kind people. I have
not been back since the Croatian War of Independence, but that region of the world has moved back up
on my list of places to visit again.
And when I again visit Croatia, I’ll be sure and stop by to say hello to the main mass of Dubrovnik.
Until next time….
The Accretion Desk welcomes all comments and feedback. [email protected]
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Private: Tucson Show 2011 Recap
by Jim Tobin
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Well another Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has come and gone. I went this year with a lot of other
concerns on my personal plate. But, it turned out to be a great time for me and I was for the most part
able to forget the other stuff for a few days.
Paul and I hit town on Wednesday afternoon and after some trouble getting a rental car (seems that no
matter how early you book one they will still let themselves sell out) we got on the road in something
smaller than the 12 passenger van that they wanted us to take at first. We have a routine that we follow
after leaving the airport. We hit a couple outlying hotels for material for the business then head to the
former Inn Suites to just take enough time to say hello to some of our friends, before heading to our hotel
to check in and get ready to meet our dinner guests of the first night.
Paul’s brother and his girl friend Tony and Tricia were coming over for the evening and we were
scheduled to play some pool and then go to dinner. It is always wonderful to see them and once again we
had a great time. We missed the closing of the restaurant again for two years in a row. But, this year we
were out less than an hour after they shut the doors.
Paul, Tricia and Tony after playing pool Wednesday night.
Thursday morning we were up and going for our longest day of acquiring material for the business and
seeing our dealer friends. Our first stop is usually the hotel that Blain Reed is at. This year Mike Miller had
a room for the first time. I found a few items at Blaine’s room and we had a nice visit with him. While there
a man brought in a piece of rusted iron to have checked. It was too symmetrical in shape to be a
meteorite and Blaine ran a test on it and it had the characteristics of man made tool steel. We headed
around the building to Mike Miller’s room and visited with him for a while. It is always like going into another
world full of sparkling beauty when I see Mike’s iron meteorite slices. He has done some of the finest
polishing and etching that is around anywhere. Unfortunately, living near the ocean as we do we have to
be careful about getting irons. I am farther from the ocean then Paul but even saying that I don’t put slices
of iron out for regular display. I just get them out to look at, then put them back in their safe little dry boxes.
The largest amount of our day on Thursday was going through the strip of hotels from the Days Inn to the
Riverside. We probed and pocked our way in and out of all the booths behind, between and around each
hotel. Then visited the dealers in the hotels that are on our yearly list. We were looking for stuff to
replenish our supply of stock and found much of what we needed. I forgot to mention the we had already
sent back 19 pounds of material on the first afternoon. Now we were quickly getting to the point of having
another shipment ready to go. We worked our way ever closer to Erich Haiderer’s room where we knew
we would spend at least a couple hours of great fun looking at all his many meteorites. Erich and Silva are
always such gracious hosts and we feel pretty relaxed after all the years of visiting with them. We dig in
and inquire about all the meteorites they have. I always find a few specimens that I can not live without in
their room. This year was no exception. I got several pieces, but I guess the nice sized slice of Steinbach
was the favorite this year. It had been on my short list for a while. There is nothing quite like getting a piece
of a meteorite discovered in 1724. As it would turn out I got a couple this Tucson from the 1800’s as well
and that is pretty exciting too. We finally departed Erich and Silva’s room with a nice batch of meteorites in
the early afternoon and headed to the former Inn Suites for our first real visit there. We would not be
staying too long even this time. But, we had the whole next day devoted to there on Friday. We stopped by
and saw Pani and I found a nice eucrite that I had not gotten in 2010 so I added that to my growing number
of new acquisitions. Down the same side of the hotel was Edwin Thompson who had not been at the
show for a couple years it was great to see him. There was no traffic in the room at the time and we had a
nice relaxed visit and got to do some good catching up. K and D are there in the same part of the hotel
and it is always fun to stop in there. I found a nice admire individual that was cut and polished on one side.
It was crying out for me to buy it, so I did. Meteorites do not have to make a lot of effort sometimes to get
my attention. Though I am pretty immune to the crackling and popping of the numerous Nantans that were
around the town this year. I tell you I can just hear them rusting right there laying in the tents.
Slice of Steinbach chemically anomalous iron found in 1724
Slice of NWA 6488 polymict eucrite found in 2009
Moving on we rounded the side of the building and headed over to see Geoff Notkin and Anne Black at
side-by-side suites. We arrived at Geoff’s room and Steve Arnold was there. I had asked Steve to set
aside a couple nice pieces of something form the material found on Meteorite Men in the second season.
So I was looking forward to find out what he had. He had saved a beautiful large impactite from Henbury
and a Henbury individual . The individual was shaped like the letter “J” which I found to be very cool. I have
no other meteorite shaped like my initial. We talked a while and I asked about anything else he had with
him and he produced a very pretty part slice of San Juan. So I had to have that as well. I think he did a
wonderful job of choosing meteorites for me. I should let him pick for me all the time.
The "J" shaped Henbury found on the Meteorite Men Henbury
episode
On our first short visit to Geoff’s room we had met a few of the guests that were there and obtained
autographed copies of his new book. And what a great book it is. It may become the essential handbook
for meteorites hunters for years to come. This second visit they were so busy that it was standing room
only and since they are there to do business we moved on hoping for another occasion to chat. Stepping
next door we again greeted Anne Black. Over the years Anne has had more than a few pieces that I just
had to get. I found some again this year. I guess it is the Agoult slice that is the most thrilling this year. But
I did find several meteorites she had that I will enjoy.
The tree section with an embedded Sikhote Alin very cool
Slice of Agoult an almost textureless eucrite
Her suite was also standing room only this first real visit, so we moved on knowing that we would return
several more times before our stay at the show was over. We headed down stairs to the room of Bruno
and Carine and their always exciting collection of planetary and achondrite meteorites. They never
disappoint when it comes to the most exotic of meteorites. There were two complete slices of one of the
Los Angeles martians. I thought they were very cool. We chatted with them for a while and they got busy
so we bid them goodbye and promised to return later to look again. During the interval we decided to get
some of the Taza NWA 859 that they had. It would help replenish a category in our store and one of them
was so cool I was destined to have it myself. We did get back and buy up most or all of their supply of
Taza individuals.
We spent the rest of the day visiting all the other meteorite dealer there at the former Inn Suites. And I
managed to occasionally find something that I could not resist. As for the business we had made a
second shipment back of material another 20 pounds. And we were already carrying a bunch more we did
not want to ship.
It seemed that we were in perfect sync with the meteorite universe all week. We arrived everywhere just
on time; meeting up with whomever we needed to see and at the right time for whatever we needed to do.
We just kept running into people all over town like never before.
Saturday morning we did something we never do and that is to revisit the Riverside Hotel area. We had
planned to go to the wholesale show and get some items there but changed the plan to get them from
tents along the street instead. While there we once again saw the meteorite vendor with the boxes of
NWA meteorites for 6 cents per gram. We could not resist getting some. Paul had much greater strength
of will and only got a couple small stones. I on the other hand gave in completely and walked away with
several kilos of nice stones that had been buried in the bottom of one of the boxes. These I cut the day
after getting home from the show. I got some really cool material in the deal. After the return trip to the
Riverside and all that we got there we headed to the Tucson Electric Park (TEP). Geoff had a booth set up
there selling mostly Campo irons. We arrived just as they were doing the book signing of his new book
and I discreetly took some pictures so as to stay out of the way of the Meteorite Men camera team that
were there. Only bad part was once again they were too busy to talk, but we had hopes that sometime
during the show we could chat.
Steve Arnold and Geoff Notkin the Meteorite Men having a book
signing at Tucson Electric Park
Sunday our last day at the show is always kind of a last run really fast at the former Inn Suites to see
everyone once more and thank them and say goodbye. Wouldn’t you know it the Meteorite Men were
doing another book signing . But, Geoff saw us and paused from his important work to graciously take a
few moments to talk. We know that we will get plenty of time over the next year to keep up by email and it
was really great to see their success. We as a community owe them a big debt for all their hard work. It
has and will continue to rub off on most of the rest of us in the meteorite business.
Once again the Meteorite Men signing books and greeting fans. This time at the former Inns
suites
Well that summarizes the day time activities we had this year, but our nights were full as well. Remember
I said that we seemed to be in sync like never before. We had planned to have dinner one night with Jason
Phillips, Mike Bandli and Rob Wesel. We ran into the guys and began to set the dinner up. They started to
tell us where the restaurant was and asked if we knew the area. We said we did that it was only a couple
minutes from our hotel. They asked what hotel and we said the Red Roof Inn. They replied that’s our hotel
too. So we met them for dinner and then after the evening activities of the Birthday Bash we joined them
for some great conversation and laughs. But, the being in sync thing was not over. As we got off the
elevator going from our room to theirs we nearly ran down Bob Verish and Moni Waiblinger as they got on
the elevator. Yes, they were at the same hotel as well. So they also joined us. We had quite a nice group
gathered until early morning. What fun, we never get the chance to spend much time with Rob, Mike, and
Jason and rarely see Bob and Moni unless it is to hunt meteorites together every couple of years. The
meteorites are great but in the end it is the fine people of the meteorite community that make the nonbusiness part of our trip the best.
We attended the IMCA dinner again this year and had a great time. We sat with Tim and Pat Heitz what
fun that was. We got to know them so much better and really enjoyed exchanging stories. It is so loud in
the restaurant that I had some trouble with hearing everything. But, it was still fun and the food as always
was very good.
We ate before the Birthday Bash this year. It was going to be the only dinner Paul and I would have by
ourselves to talk and relax at the end of our busiest day of meteorite “hunting”. As it turns out I “found” two
meteorites at the show. We ran into Larry Sloan who had a bottle of tiny Franconia Irons with him. I
thought they would be great to have in my collection and to sell on our site so we accompanied him to his
vehicle where we sorted though the bottle. We picked out roughly a hundred I would guess. And I would
sort out a dozen or so for my collection later. But, as we were sorting I said “that is not an iron that’s a
stone.” And sure enough one of the tiny specimens was a very small fractional gram Franconia with a
nearly complete fusion crust. I do not know if it is one of the regular Franconia stones or a different fall
found there but it was surprisingly fresh. So I guess I “found” a meteorite at Tucson. Late when we were at
the TEP show I found one of the small Campos of about 100 grams several feet from the end of Geoff’s
table out in the traffic area about to be buried under the gravel pavement. I handed this to Qynne Arnold
and said “that’s the second meteorite I have found at the show“. But, the cute little Franconia is all set up
in a display box and will be one of my cutest little meteorites. A special one to remember this year by
since all the little ones in the bottle had originally been found by Jim Smaller.
A small group of Franconia Irons picked out of the bigger batch we got from
Larry Sloan
The Birthday Bash was as always a hoot. Lots of people and lots of fun. The boys put on the greatest
show in town again. This time streamed live on the internet. The Harvey Awards were given out again to a
fine group of deserving individuals. I applaud Steve and Geoff for making these choices every year I would
be hard pressed to decide from the great group of people we have who to honor. They always ask who
found meteorites in the past year and how many. It is amazing how many people get out and do the hard
work and are rewarded with numerous finds. Great job all of you, keep up the good work.
Michael Blood’s auction was another success, this time also streamed live to the world. Some surprises
were seen. Some meteorites went for much less then I thought they would while others went for much
more. But, in recent years there have been very few items that passed with no bids and that was the case
again. Only a couple items failed to sell. He has gotten the auction organized really well and checking out
is done during the auction for those that want it and after a second line for checking out is done by bid
card number. Great job Michael.
A view of the Michael Blood Auction room before the festivities
Well what can I say to close. I went with much on my mind and very distracted but enjoyed this year more
than most. So, 2011 Tucson Meteorite Show goes down as one for the record books for me as most fun.
Just as a sideline note that has nothing to do with Tucson this year. I have found a great time passer for
others like myself that either can not play video games very well or can not stand the repetitive digital
sound effects of video games. It is the Meteorite Men Puzzles at the Science Channel website of the
Meteorite Men. They work just like regular paper jigsaw puzzles but are
digital. Great fun and there are several different ones figure out.
Until next month, enjoy Jim
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Private: The Flandrau – Science Center & Planetarium
by Robert Verish
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The Flandrau – Science Center & Planetarium
For the meteorite aficionado this is a must-see destination while attending the Tucson Gem &
Mineral Show.
The meteorites are on display in various locations throughout the Science Center, and are
not just kept in the collection.
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has become a “mecca” for those of us with any interest in
meteorites. The yearly “pilgrimage” to this desert city-turned-spacerock-convention is often described in
near-religious-tones by visiting meteorite aficionado as being a life-changing event. Hyperbole aside, there
is no better place than Tucson in early February to see up-close the newest and argueably rarest
meteorite finds. And for sure, it is the greatest, temporary concentration of ordinary chondrites and other
common meteorites. Although there are many meteorites on display, they are widely scattered all over
town. Their venues are typically in meteorite dealers “showrooms”, which in most cases, are just a few
display cases that are set up in the dealer’s motel room! Although these dealer displays are small and
widespread throughout Tucson, the meteorite collectors are very adept at finding them.
Because hunting down all of these widely scattered meteorite dealers is so time-consuming, visitors to
the Tucson Show find it hard to make time to visit the local museums and planetariums to view their
meteorite displays. These displays are usually perceived as being permanent (as in, “not going anywhere
soon”) but that could be a misconception, because I have found that most of these displays are not static.
Each year that I return, I find that there have been a number of changes to these “permanent” displays.
From the title of this article you can tell that I will be focusing on the meteorite displays that are open to
public viewing at the Flandrau Science Center.
What was originally called, “The Flandrau Planetarium”, has expanded over the years into a large circular,
temple-looking building that now houses, not only the Flandrau Planetarium, but the Flandrau Observatory,
the UA Mineral Museum, and the Science Center, comprising a Gift Shop and several exhibits both
permanent and temporary. This building (located on the University of Arizona campus ) is now known as
the “UA Science Center – Flandrau”. This building with its white domes is situated next door to the Kuiper
Building, which is home to the Lunar & Planetary Lab (LPL). The LPL, a world-famous research facility,
was the site of the 2010 Arizona Meteorite Exhibit.
Another commonly used name for the Flandrau Planetarium is, “UA Science: Flandrau”.
UA Science: Flandrau had its beginnings in 1972 through a donation from the estate of Grace H. Flandrau,
a well-known author and frequent visitor to Tucson. The University decided to use the donation to fund a
planetarium, a facility that would increase public appreciation and understanding of science.
Originally, this “facility” was part of the UA Department of Astronomy, and at that time was known as The
Grace H. Flandrau Planetarium. And at that time its location on campus was near the Astronomy
Department, Optical Sciences Center, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, as well as, the historic Steward
Observatory. This was intentional in order to reflect the Flandrau’s continuing connections to the research
community.
The Planetarium was opened to the public in 1975. And O. Richard Norton was its first Planetarium
director.
For those who haven’t been to The Flandrau recently, you may be surprised by all of the renovations since
the Flandrau Planetarium re-opened in April of 2010 . If you have visited the “The Flandrau” in the past, you
should visit it again and see the renovations for yourself. And if you haven’t seen “The Flandrau”, I highly
recommend that you take the time on your next visit to Tucson to partake in an out-of-this-world
experience.
You can find a “MAP TO Flandrau Science Center” by going to the Arizona Guide website.
Gallery of Images – Bob’s Findings Article for February 2011
The Flandrau – Science Center & Planetarium
Monika Waiblinger and myself are drawn like a
magnet to this iron meteorite.
Greg Stanley enjoyed his visit to the UA Science Center.
Moni Waiblinger is quite pleased with herself, after finding this
"Lunar".
The Flandrau is next door to the Kuiper Space Sciences
Building.
An excellent display of Afganistan Gems & Minerals – part of a temporary exhibit,
“Dangerous Beauty: Minerals of the Hindu Kush”
Fantastic gems and mineral specimens!
The Asteroid Exhibit. One of the many excellent exhibits in the
Science Center.
On the left, a cross-section of a differentiated asteroid with an
molten iron core.
A life-sized replica of the Tucson Ring iron meteorite.
Another "Tucson Ring" exhibit, this one downstairs in the
Mineral Museum. This exhibit displays replicas of the "2"
Tucson Iron Meteorites.
The above image depicts a
close-up view of the top-half of
the poster for the "Tucson
Meteorite" display. "Click" on the
above image in order to
ENLARGE.
The above image depicts a
close-up view of the bottom-half
of the poster for the "Tucson
Meteorite" display. "Click" on the
above image in order to
ENLARGE.
The above image depicts a
close-up view of the Tucson
Ring replica in the "Tucson
Meteorite" display. "Click" on the
above image in order to
ENLARGE.
The above image
depicts a close-up view
of the "Carleton Iron" for
the "Tucson Meteorite"
display. "Click" on the
above image in order to
ENLARGE.
So much to see in the Mineral Museum. This will have To Be
Continued in a forthcoming Bob's Findings article.
What was originally called, “The Flandrau Planetarium”, is now the center-piece to what has grown into a
multifunctional temple to science, The UA Science Center – Flandrau.
References:
Link to a website for the :
UA Science Center University of Arizona, Tucson
A website for links to images of other observatories in Arizona and California:
http://www.xanaduobservatory.com/
Get information about upcoming events at the UA Science: Flandrau on Twitter.
Link to website with “University of Arizona Mineral Museum” information:
– The UA Mineral Museum
c/o Mark Candee
For more information:
[email protected]
My previous articles can be found *HERE*
For for more information, please contact me by email: Bolide*chaser
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Private: IMCA Insights – February 2011
by IMCA TEAM
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IMCA Insights – February 2011
The Morasko iron shower – a few scientific and ethical questions
by Andrzej S. Pilski
In recent years meteorite hunters, armed with modern metal detectors, raised Morasko to the position of
the largest European iron shower. Despite those numerous finds our knowledge of the shower itself has
not increased as some finders have refused to share with scientists details about their finds. Most often
locations were kept secret as finders apparently did not want to see other hunters in their hunting area.
Treasure hunters, more specifically, interested only in getting money for their finds, did not inform
scientists at all and tried to sell their finds in Germany hoping to get more money. That is why a team of
researchers, headed by Dr. Andrzej Muszyński, professor in the Institute of Geology of the Adam
Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, is still unable to estimate the size of the whole Morasko
meteorite shower.
The very first find of Morasko from 1914, now in the collection
of the Institute of Geological Sciences of the Polish Academy of
Sciences. (Photo courtesy of ING PAN)
The Morasko iron became known to science on November 12, 1914 with its discovery during the digging
of trenches near the village of Morasko, then only a few kilometers north of the city of Poznań. Today
Morasko is incorporated into Poznań, so one may expect new finds during excavations for new buildings.
The finder, sergeant, Dr. Cobliner, wrote in a letter to the director of a museum in Poznań (then
Germany), that about half of meter under the surface he had found a lump of metal weighing 75 kg. A
fragment of the lump was sent to the Geologishe Landesanstalt in Berlin, where it was recognized as a
meteorite. The main mass was left in Poznań in a Polish museum, as in 1918 Poland reemerged as an
independent country.
The 78 kg find from 1947 displayed behind a "common" Campo
del Cielo in the Mineralogical Museum in Wrocław, Poland.
In 1954 Dr. Jerzy Pokrzywnicki, who wanted to find all meteorites preserved in Polish collections after
World War II, found in the museum not only the first find, but also a few smaller rusty lumps of iron.
Thinking that it could be a meteorite shower, he started to ask the residents of Morasko about possible
finds of lumps of iron. He soon found in a farmyard an iron mass of 78 kg, which the farmer had ploughed
up in the fall of 1947 and had brought back to his yard. Another farmer told him that before World War II a
mass of 80 kg and eight other masses of 1.5 to 8 kg had also been ploughed up. Most of them had been
lost, but a few could be the individuals Dr. Pokrzywnicki had found in the museum.
The 30 kg lump (not cleaned) of Morasko found by Krzysztof
Socha in 1995.
Thinking that more iron masses might still be waiting to be found in the area Dr. Pokrzywnicki asked the
army for help. Soldiers armed with military mine detectors checked the fields around the village of
Morasko but their search was unsuccessful. So those meteorites had to wait until 1990 to be found. By
then the interest in meteorites had increased in Poland and beginners meteorite hunters armed with
modern metal detectors started to search in Morasko. Their hard work and better equipment soon
resulted in new finds. In 1995 two larger specimens, about 30 kg and 40 kg were found plus many smaller
ones, from a few kilograms to few dozen grams. Then every year more and more specimens were added
to the list, culminating with the discovery of the largest one in 2006.
The largest Morasko find (164 kg after cleaning) cut open and
etched. Note numerous, rounded inclusions of troilite/graphite.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. A. Muszyński)
However, this flurry of meteorite hunters around Morasko brought up some questions, which are not
limited to the Morasko case. Are meteorite hunters helpful to scientists or not? There are no doubt that
only the efforts of private meteorite hunters made the recent scientific work on the Morasko meteorite
possible. However it is quite clear that some hunters worked only for themselves, keeping secret their
finds and possibly even spreading false information. As an example, I found on Ebay-Germany a mass of
about 22 kg, an uncleaned Morasko that was offered for sale. Its discovery was never reported to Dr.
Muszyński.
A lump of Morasko (about 22 kg) removed illegally from Poland
and offered for sale on Ebay about 2 years ago. (Photo from
the Ebay offer)
Scientists are less concerned about the numerous small finds of Morasko. Of course it would be great to
know the exact location and size of each and every find, but missing some of them does not change
seriously the general picture of the strewnfield. Largest finds however are much more important. In 1999 a
finder asked some scientists to check a mass of iron, about 90 kg, reportedly found west of Morasko. The
finder did not want to show exactly where his specimen had been found. After confirming that it was a
meteorite the Polish Geological Institute offered the finder a rather good price for his find, but the finder
refused to sell. Then the finder and the specimen disappeared. There is a rumor that the specimen was
sold to somebody in Germany.
A half specimen, 2.6 kg, of Morasko with troilite/graphite
inclusion (bottom) and some cohenite (left edge)
To make it more difficult to remove from Poland meteorites that are of interest for science, a statement
that exporting meteorites from Poland needed a written permission from the Department of Protecting
Environment was added to the Act on Protection of Environment, which passed in 2004. It seems
however that this law is unknown and last year when I took a few specimens from my own collection for a
show in Winchester, UK, nobody at the airport checkpoint was interested and asked if I had any
permission. Still, the law exists and could be used when necessary.
A small, windowed specimen of Morasko, 87.7g
In my country people used to say that “Law is law but life is life”. Although the Act on Protection of
Environment does not explicitly mention meteorites (except in the case of exportation), meteorites must
be regarded as natural specimens of interest to science. In fact this Act states that every specimen that
could possibly be of interest for science should be shown to an Office of Conservator of Nature, allowing
that Office to decide if it is indeed important for science. If it is not important, the finder may own his find; if
it is, the find should be given to authorities, and the finder should receive a prize.
A half specimen of Morasko, 243g, with shock deformations of
the Widmanstätten pattern.
In reality the law does not work. At best a finder asks a scientist to check if his find is meteoritic. As this is
the only way to get some information about meteorite finds, no scientist is willing to inform authorities and
start the legal procedure. Everybody knows that and if one did then nobody would ever inform him about
new finds. So scientists have a hard choice: to be a good citizen and inform authorities about illegal
behavior and lose scientific data, or to become the accomplice of an illegal meteorite hunter to get
material for science research. Apparently a law, which creates such dilemma, is not a good law but… law
is law.
A full slice of Morasko, 1083g, with troilite (rimmed with
schreibersite), graphite and cohenite inclusions. Note that the
cohenite follows Widmanstätten pattern. The slice is cut from
the 30 kg (1995) find shown above.
What about ethics? As a meteorite enthusiast I would call someone’s behavior to be ethical, legal or not,
when it helps in protecting meteorites from rusting in soil and in bringing the specimens for research with
all data necessary. So I would call unethical a meteorite hunter who keeps hidden all the information about
his finds because he thinks it will help him make more money.
A half specimen of Morasko, 334 g, with Campo-type pattern.
Note flurry of Neumann lines at left and wide kamacite band
(upper center) with schreibersite inside.
That said I would like to ask ethical meteorite collectors for their help in a way similar to what Dr. Svend
Buhl did in the case of Bassikounou. If you have a larger specimen of the Morasko meteorite in your
collection, say above 1 kg, please let me know its weight, general appearance (photo, if possible) and the
exact location of the find if it was not right in Morasko. The information may be anonymous, but if not, all
personal data will be kept secret anyway. The only purpose of my inquiry is to evaluate the Total Known
Weight of the Morasko meteorite and the size of its strewnfield if possible.
Many thanks in advance!
Andrzej S. Pilski
[email protected]
(Photos by the author unless another source is mentioned.)
This article has been edited by Anne Black and Norbert Classen
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Private: Relict Grains
by John Kashuba
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Chondrules were molten droplets. What caused the melting is hotly debated (har). Chondrule textures
reflect the extent of melting and rates of cooling. Porphyritic chondrules did not fully melt. Fine-grained
porphyritic chondrules began cooling with many fine widely distributed unmelted mineral crystals.
Coarse-grained porphyritic chondrules had fewer. Either type can contain larger grains that survived the
melting episode and retain their original character. Here are some chondrules with relict grains.
Relict grain right in the center.
Relict grain is a barred chondrule.
Another.
Notice the rounded edges of the huge grain.
Large grain surrounded by opaque material . . .
. . . black opaque material.
Maybe not really a relict grain.
But it certainly looks like the rest built up around it.
Relict grain and more opaque blebs.
Wow.
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by Anne Black
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Private: Unclassified NWA Chondrite 66.6 Grams
by Jim Tobin
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Question: Is a meteorite like the one pictured here considered fully crusted if it has a late flight breakup
and the broken surface is covered only around its perimeter with crust and roll over material? This melted
material resulted from a too brief stable ablating flight after the in flight disruption of the mass. But, as you
can see it has no crust in the center of the surface broken in flight.
Comments are welcome and can be sent to [email protected] or posted on Club Space Rock or the
met-list for discussion there.
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Private: Muong Nong Tektite
by Editor
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A perfect 3.5 kg specimen of Muong Nong from Laos with no chips or damages at all. The 2 cent piece
has a diameter of aproximately 2 cm.
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Once a few decades ago this opening
was a framed window in the wall
of H. H. Nininger's Home and
Museum building. From this
window he must have many times
pondered the mysteries of
Meteor Crater seen in the distance.
Photo by © 2010 James Tobin

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