[meteorite-list] Unclassified NWAs

From: Matson, Robert <ROBERT.D.MATSON_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:42:02 2004
Message-ID: <AF564D2B9D91D411B9FE00508BF1C8692C5E6C_at_US-Torrance.mail.saic.com>

Hi All,

Don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said by
another list member regarding the value and/or desirability
of NWA meteorites. However, one MAJOR issue that I don't
believe has been discussed here in detail is fraud. I'm
sure a lot of people have put two and two together, but may
have been reluctant to mention it in writing for fear of
a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unfortunately, when money is
involved, science and ethics can easily take a backseat
to greed. That's why I think we need to attack this
potential (and in all likelihood, probable) problem head-on
to see if any preventative measures can be taken.

The specific fraud issue I'm referring to is NWA emigration
coupled with "rediscovery". As an active field investigator,
I am concerned about the large number of undocumented,
unclassified Moroccan "bazaar" meteorites coming on the
market, and the possibility of unscrupulous individuals
attempting to use them as domestic meteorite "poseurs".

Perhaps the weathering of Saharan meteorites is sufficiently
distinctive that it acts as a brand for place of origin. If
not, then meteorite importers bear some responsibility in
helping to devise methods to curtail this type of fraud.
Field investigators such as myself already use insitu
photodocumentation to help prove pedigree, but it wouldn't
take much to fake this. Caliche, distinctive weathering,
or interior indigenous mineralization along crack boundaries
may be the only ways to prove that a meteorite did not come
from northwest Africa.

I look forward to any corrections or additions to this
important topic that our list members have to offer.

Received on Mon 22 Jan 2001 04:28:41 PM PST

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