[meteorite-list] The SNC story - The Dilemma of Distrust and Defamation

From: Norbert Classen <trifid_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:46:23 2004
Message-ID: <NCBBKMGDKLMGIBALJOFCGEOCCCAA.trifid_at_timewarp.de>

Dear list members,

I'm quite new to this list but not new to meteoritics. Since
this is my first post I'd like to introduce myself briefly:
I'm a German freelance writer and meteorite collector, and
some of you already know me as a fellow collector, as an
active buyer/customer or as a friend. Hi folks!

Since one focus of my collection is on Achondrites, specially
on HEDs, SNCs and Lunars I'd like to talk about someting that
really bothers me since some times: did anyone else of you
notice that there's always a certain air of distrust and
defamation around each and every new SNC find? I'm not talking
about the falls nor am I talking about the antartic finds...

Let's start with the Nakhlite finds, Lafayette and Governador
Valadares, which both were suspected to be mislabeled or
intentionally misplaced individuals of the Nakhla fall. And
although there's much evidence from lots of research done on
this three meteorites that at least convinces me that they are
not paired I encounter this argument as often as I discuss
the Nakhlites with other collectors and scientists, too.

Things are getting worse when it comes to the Shergottites.
It all started off with "(Un-)Lucky 13", DaG 476 and its first
pairing DaG 489. When the first pieces hit the market dealers
were accused of selling fake material or of selling pieces of
the one as the other. And things were totaly getting out of
hands when DaG 670 and DaG 735 (and recently DaG 876) appeared.
Now the finders were accused of having withheld this finds to
the meteoritic community just to hide the real TKW and to keep
the prices high as long as possible.

When the gold rush came to Oman two new Shergottites were found,
SaU 005 (and its pairings SaU 008 / 051) and Dhofar 019. It's
true, at least the first ones bear a striking similarity to
the DaGs, but this only caused a new debate about possible fraud
instead of focussing on a possible source crater pairing.
The finders were accused of having found new pieces of the DaG
Shergottite in Lybia and having those pieces translocated to
Oman just to fake a new find. Scientific institutions started
to engage themselfs as public prosecutors studying every grain
of sand attached to the new meteorites to prove the fake. How
about it, Matteo? Any news about that? (By that, I don't believe
in a fraud, anyway, since those meteorites were found by three
independent teams.)

The same with Los Angeles, when Bob Verish found two paired
martian rocks in his backyard while clearing out some boxes
in which he had put rocks from trips through the Mojave desert
years ago. Bob wasn't accused openly (as far as I know) but
the rumour went that those stones actually were found in
Northwest Africa and not in the United States. I heard this
boring story from dealers, collectors and - mostly - hunters
on each and every fair I visited.

And now the story is going on with NWA 480, the latest member
of the SNC family, as it seems. The Pellisons were obviously
delighted to state on this list:

"The CNES (National French Spatial Studies Center), associated
on Mars rock sample return program, gives $55,000 of public
funds to a meteorite merchant, the same one who had created
the false Tagounite strewnfield with no respect for meteoritic
science, helping him to continue the plundering of Saharan
meteorites with unknown location."

Obviously the "funds" were payed to the unnamed "plunderer"
(why are you afraid of calling things and persons by name,
messieurs? It's not my task, anyway) for giving 25g of the
total 28g of the new SNC to science, isn't it? You don't want
to start that cheap propaganda of distrust and defamation all
over again, don't you?
If you have hard facts, real facts to prove that there is
ANY fraud, so please share it openly like you share your
precious strewnfields. But if your just jealous because some
"rival" has found something more interesting to scientist and
collectors (or something that's easier to sell) than your CO3
then simply shut up and go back to desert to find some SNCs or
Lunars yourself. At least I'm sick of this quasi-meteoritic
mobbing in the name of "true science"!

As a final note: personaly I don't believe in metaphysical
properties of the SNCs as pieces of the planet Mars that is
well known as the god of war and discord in ancient mythology.
I think the roots of this dilemma are envy and greed as well
as a lack of sobriety, trust and appreciation. But who
knows ;-)

I for myself would like to thank all the finders in the first
place. Without you I wouldn't have got the opportunity to
touch the Red Planet and to feel the wonder. Thanks!

All the best,
Norbert Classen
Received on Sat 12 May 2001 02:02:38 PM PDT

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