[meteorite-list] Lafayette-a possible fall?
From: almitt <almitt_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:37:36 2004
Hi Charlie and list,
In regards to the Lafayette Meteorite, I live here in Indiana and assuming it was
found here, I can verify it wouldn't last as long as the terrestrial age that has been
suggested. It simply would have weathered away. The very pristine condition of the
meteorite suggests an immediate find after the fall. I talked to Dr. Wadhwa from the
Field about this and she indicated that she had faith in the researcher who had found
the high terrestrial age. I would suggest that it might be a "Mars" weathering age
rather than an Indiana weathering age if that is possible.
I myself held a .55 crusted piece for some years but sold it with a collection of
other Mars meteorites this year. My crust showed even the beading from the fall. Not
something you would expect after about ten years of Indiana weather.
I had posted info on the Lafayette Find at one time but can't seem to find it. I tried
looking in the list archives but it doesn't seem to be complete at this time. I'll try
to look around again and find that post info and re-post it. Otherwise I will compose
another post on the Lafayette Find from Nininger's papers.
The Lafayette Meteorite
By H.H. Nininger
Little is known regarding the date and time of this remarkable fall, but the fresh
appearance renders it practically certain that it wasn't on the Earth long before
its discovery and recovery before the mechanical abuses of nature took over. A
story is told that a black student of Purdue University, Indiana reported that a
number of years ago while fishing at the edge of a little lake he was frightened by
the falling of a stone at a distance of only a few feet from him. The stone was dug
up from soft mud and found it to be "shaped just like a corn pone" and of about
the same size. For a time he preserved the stone and later took it to the University
to shed some information on it. This report was never substantiated for the reason
that the person could not be located.
What ever its history it was first recognized by Dr. O.C Farrington while classifying
some minerals and rocks for the department of geology in Purdue University in 1931.
Up until that time the specimen had been regarded as a glacial boulder or pebble and
the surface markings were thought to be the results of glacial scratches due to its
To a student of meteorites, the Lafayette stone at once becomes a very impressive
example of the result of an oriented flight through the atmosphere. As far as it is
no this writer no other meteorite records such a flight more perfectly. Fine crinkley
radiate from the central point of the spheroidal front of blackish glass. 27
were counted to run unbroken to the periphery. Between these primaries are one to
three secondaires that start short of the central area and continue to the periphery.
Altogether the lined surface of the stone gives the impression that it has been formed
by the cooling down from a condition in which the surface of the entire front was in
a liquid state to a temperature below the melting point of the stone which allowed
matter to congeal while in the process of being swept away. The high viscosity of the
resulted in the formation of more or less perfect beads, where the sweep of the air
not too powerful. Some of the prominence appear to be the result of unequal melting of
the underlying particles of the stone. The base of the stone represents a totally
different appearance and is flat.
The interior of the Lafayette stone constitutes one of those rare stones that shows no
metallic inclusions on a polished surface. Three polished surfaces were examined show-
ing no metallic inclusions or iron nickel. The interior is an aggregate of slender
crystals of a olive drab color, with a sprinkling of lighter and darker particles,
almost black. There is no suggestion of a chondrite structure visible in any of the
cut surfaces and therefore falls in the division of achondrites. Dr. W.A. Waldschmidt
of the Colorado School of Mines examined a sample of the stone and found it to be
mainly a monoclinic pyroxine, probably diopside and therefore it should be classified
with the Nakhlites of Prior. Principal mass of the stone is about 800 grams and is
preserved in the Geological Collection of Purdue.
Nininger states that Farrington might have had information on the details of the
It's not sure if he had done some investigative work or not and had planned to write a
formal paper on the stone.Unfortunately Farrington died before writing the paper and
no documents were found in his files perhaps details lost when he died.
Source: The Published Papers Of H.H. Nininger
By the Center for Meteorite Studies Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Published originally in Popular Astronomy 1935
The Nininger Moments are articles or books written originally by Harvey
Nininger and put into a consolidated form by Al Mitterling. Some of the
items written in the moments might be old out dated material and the
reader is advised to keep this in mind. Please request permission for
further publication of the Moments.
Received on Tue 19 Dec 2000 03:41:24 PM PST