[meteorite-list] Meteorite Fraud...A good story....
From: Matson, Robert <ROBERT.D.MATSON_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:42:05 2004
Hi Michael and list,
Great story about the irons in Erfoud! I guess turnabout
is fair play! I'll know we've come full circle when someone
takes a piece of Willamette to Argentina and tries to pass
it off as a Campo! <chuckle>
> But it seems to me THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE MADE THE NON LOCATION
> OF NWA METEORITES SUCH AN ISSUE HAVE CREATED THIS IN THE
> FIRST PLACE.
I don't think you can place blame on a small group of individuals
for the market price disparity between meteorites with a known
find location and those recovered from a "general area". The
MARKET has decided that all other things being equal (type,
shock, weathering, aesthetics, TKW, etc.) a meteorite from a
specific location is worth more. Whether that is logical or
not means NOTHING. An observed fall is worth more than a fresh
find that no one observed, even if that observed fall is not
located and recovered for several years. People place some
value on circumstances.
> I mean you whine about NWA Meteorites because they don't have a location
> and then you worry about the fact that someone might want to give them
I've never whined about NWAs -- they are just as special to
me as any of my other meteorites. But you're damned right I
worry about someone relocating uncut Moroccans because that
potentially impacts the credibility of the field work I DO!
Whether people are aware of it or not, there's more to
meteorites than the meteorites themselves. Where they are
found and in what condition can reveal clues about the historical
geology of a region, deflation rates, and even provide data
on global meteorite fall rates. This last part is valuable
astronomical data; meteorite relocation to a study area has
just as damaging an effect as the failure to report a find
in that area.
> IT IS A FACT! YOU ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE IT. NWA METEORITES DO NOT
> HAVE A KNOWN LOCATION. THE MOROCCAN's and others will have hundreds of
> kilos for sale in Tucson. There are hundreds of more kilos in Morocco and
> never DOCUMENT ALL. NEVER.
Everyone accepts that.
> Now if you just accept this fact that they (NWA) meteorites don't have
> then maybe you can avert a problem before it even begins.
That's all I want to do. Help avert a problem.
> Stop sprouting so much hate against a single group of meteorites and maybe
> people will never even think of relocating them.
People don't "hate" NWAs. On the contrary, I think it's great
that you and Mike Farmer (and others) are getting so many of
the Moroccan meteorites named and classified. That's extremely
commendable. But as you correctly pointed out, there's just
too much material for it all to get named, let alone classified.
It's this unnamed, uncut, unclassified material that has the
potential to threaten the integrity of my work.
As for people "never even thinking of relocating them," I think
you give "people" too much credit. Anyone who is willing to
put greed ahead of science will not have any reservations
about trying to profit from the Moroccan price disparity.
Ask yourself a question -- how much will people pay for the
first meteorite found in Delaware? A helluva lot more than
25 cents a gram, that much you can be sure.
> Those who get caught relocating these meteorites will pay a high and dear
> Do not worry about that. When caught......I say when, because they will
Maybe, maybe not. If labs aren't specifically looking for
poseurs, they aren't likely to detect them. UCLA certainly
isn't worrying themselves over it since transports would
never represent more than an insignificant fraction of the
specimens they classify.
> There are many people who have the experience to detect such events
> and there is no way they really could get away with it .....for long!
Yes, there are people who specialize in meteorite forensics --
Alan mentioned a guy at JSC who does just that. But they
aren't the ones doing the classifying. Transported meteorites
are nothing new -- look up Panamint Range, CA for instance,
which is very likely a transported Canyon Diablo. Cases like
these are caught because they match previously classified
meteorites. In the case of an unclassified Moroccan meteorite,
however, there may not be another to match it to.
Michael Blood worries about a self-fulfilling prophecy. This
is a cop-out, in my opinion. People are dumb, but not that
dumb. We've all thought of this, and you can be sure that
plenty of ne'er-do-wells didn't need our help putting together
this scenario. Sticking our heads in the sand and just hoping
and praying that if we don't talk about it, it won't happen,
is naive and irresponsible.
I wouldn't have even brought up the subject if the problem
didn't have a solution -- that would be even more irresponsible.
The fact is there ARE things that can be done to discourage
attempts at transport. And some of these are already being
done -- Mike Farmer and Michael Cottingham have been very
conscientious in this regard. But I can't expect them to
cut or window every little fragment they get in their
multi-hundred kilo purchases in Erfoud -- it would take
forever! That's where us second hand buyers come in.
Window your uncut purchases if you intend to resell them!
Think of it has having The Club on your car: it won't
prevent someone who is hell-bent on theft (or fraud), but
it will deter all but the most determined.
Received on Wed 24 Jan 2001 06:08:12 PM PST