[meteorite-list] Possible fossil meteorite found in PA Coal deposit

From: E.L. Jones <jonee_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:43:33 2004
Message-ID: <3B5C67B9.53B4B51A_at_epix.net>

Hello Colleagues,

I don't want jump the gun on reports like this-- but I am confident
that this item needs a closer look beyond my microscope and experience.

This past week I was searching old coal dumps near Eckley Pennsylvania
when I found a suspicious mass within a block of shale. The mass was
approximately 6x6?x3 inches, lens shaped, and VERY similar in appearance
to meteoritic shale. It is essentially non magnetic, highly weathered,
and during extraction from the ground-- the mass largely shattered into
sharp shards. Some of the mass remained embedded in the shale and the
some outline of its cavity remains. The sheen is hematite-like,
amazingly close to the way a weathered iron meteorite looks. I want to
reiterate that the mass is non magnetic but in a fossil meteorite this
would be expected.

The mass had clearly caused the normal sedimentary layers to "bow"
around it as if it had settled in soft mud. The appearance is distinctly
different from most debris I have found in coal fields. It is clearly
not a mining artifact owing to the manner in which the mass is sitting
in the layers of the matrix of shale. There are other explainations to
be eliminated.

The existence of fossil meteorites in coal beds is suspected, but the
weathering/metamorhing processes-- especially within anthracite, makes
the likelihood of finding something clearly meteoritic very remote.
Matter of fact we don't have a good handle on what a fossil meteorite
should look like in this environment. We do suspect that there would
be major (99%) modification of any original meteorite material. The
only thing remaining might be the general shape and possibly weathering
products from the original petrology. (Other fossil meteorites have been
found in limestone beds. They were undistorted and looked like a
meteorite but their chemistry was entirely altered). The rocks in Eckley
here are at least 380 mybp, if I recall correctly.

Anyone with additional suggestions on field or lab analysis please
contact me directly.

Photos may follow when time permits.

Elton Jones
Received on Mon 23 Jul 2001 02:07:03 PM PDT

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