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

From: Mike Farmer <farmerm_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:46:23 2004
Message-ID: <3AFD7EA2.6FA688AF_at_concentric.net>

Yes, finally someone else with the cajones to stake what he thinks.
It is funny that most of these problems come from those who missed out
on the rare items. Our new Lunar, NWA 482 has caused a firestorm of
controversy, but only from the other "French" buyers who missed it. I
have had numerous emails, conversations, phone calls, threats etc. from
several FRENCH buyers, but not from ANY other sources, NO Germans have
harassed me, no Italians, no Russians, no one from Czech Republic etc.
Only from several French people who seem to feel that North Africa is
their domain for some unknown reason!
It seem that the basic idea that they are trying to spread is that their
meteorites are good, everyone else' s are BAD! "Don't buy Brunos SNC
Paris,. it is BAD, Don't buy Farmer and Stropes new Lunar, it is BAD, My
stuff is GOOD, buy MINE!"
    Does anyone else find this to be a little annoying and amusing at
the same time?
It seems that someone is sending notices to museums that NWA 482 is not
a good Lunar to get, I wonder who that might be???????
    Science is profiting more then ever right now with the rare items
being discovered. The finders are profiting too, is that wrong? It takes
alot of money to fund these expeditions. Without that money, the
meteorites will lay forever in the sand, and the information that they
give will be lost.

Mike Farmer

Norbert Classen wrote:

> 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
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Received on Sat 12 May 2001 02:19:14 PM PDT

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