[meteorite-list] UNCUT NWAs (was, "Unclassified NWAs")

From: Matson, Robert <ROBERT.D.MATSON_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:42:03 2004
Message-ID: <AF564D2B9D91D411B9FE00508BF1C8692C5E7C_at_US-Torrance.mail.saic.com>

Hi All,

Michael Blood wrote:

> Hi Bob & all,
> Am I missing something here? Have there been a bunch of
> people committing meteorite fraud that I haven't known about?
> The only fraud (since the So. American Museum theft) that I
> know of is an occasional jive turkey on ebay that found a stupid
> rock and thinks it is a meteorite. Are there people committing
> meteorite fraud OTHER than the occasional nit wits that show
> up on eBay?

Perhaps you missed my lengthy message to the list.
We're talking about *location* fraud, not meteorwrong
fraud. If an unscrupulous individual purchases an
uncut, unclassified Moroccan meteorite, and then months
or even years later "rediscovers" this meteorite in,
say, Utah -- NO ONE WOULD BE ABLE TO TELL. I discussed
this very scenario with Alan Rubin yesterday, and he
said it is certainly plausible, and could quite possibly
have already happened.

Sure, if you did some very detailed meteorite forensics,
you might be able to prove the meteorite came from the
Sahara (or at least that it did NOT come from where the
"finder" said it did). But no classification lab is
going to go to that much trouble. They have too many
meteorites to classify, and they simply have to take
people at their word.

> ...all this talk about meteorite fraud strikes me as very paranoid.

Call it preventative paranoia. But you better believe that
if there is an easy way to make a 5:1 or 10:1 profit on
an investment, some fool is going to try it. Certainly no
one from this list -- the risk of being exposed and eternally
black-listed has to far outweigh any monetary gain from
the sale of a few transported OCs.

All I'm really trying to say is that the current Moroccan
situation introduces an unnecessary "loophole". With a little
extra effort on the part of those who go to Morocco to buy
meteorites in bulk, this loophole can be closed. One
solution is to cut a little slice off every meteorite or
meteorite fragment above a certain mass (25g? 50g? 100g?).
(No sense bothering below 25g -- their can't be that many
desparate people willing to commit fraud for a lousy $50
or $100).

Perhaps this is much ado about nothing. But I've seen this
list work itself up into a lather over the obvious meteorwrongs
that pop up on eBay periodically. Why is an obvious fraud
more of a concern than an undetectable fraud? --Rob
Received on Wed 24 Jan 2001 01:56:16 PM PST

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