[meteorite-list] SAHARAMET fieldwork
From: dean bessey <deanbessey_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:46:24 2004
>During a prospecting trip we have an average time of 6 hours per >people
>between 2 discoveries.
You must consider this worth your while business wise or you wouldent be
spending those 6 hours in the desert.
>We still have a lot of specimens waiting for classification (October >2000,
>90 finds on one month by two people, October 1999, 250 kg of >recoveries
>including 150 kg CO3). We have an average time of two >years between the
>moment we make a find and the moment the final >classification is done.
Nomads wont wait two years to get paid and you will have a rough time
convincing them otherwise
>We want to declaim against the plundering of Saharan strewnfields in >North
>West African countries. It is really an annoying affair all >these
>meteorites from North West Africa which swamp the market
All businesses, no matter what the industry is annoyed by the competation. I
would like to take this opportunity to ask all ebay sellers to stop selling
meteorites so that I can have the ebay market all to myself. And since I
want to be fair to you I will also ask all desert searchers to please stop
searching the sahara so that the Pelisson's can have the desert all to
>stolen in Algeria a country in civil war, Mauritania, Libya >strewnfields.
Stolen meteorites. Wow. I may be one of the few people who care about the
rocks because they were once in space but countries like australia and
canada who have laws making the result of some cosmic event a half billion
years ago that made them fall 100 miles in their direction are doing nothing
more than destroying their value and depriving the country of the spin off
effects of the tourist and travel dollars that would bring people to the
country. I dont see the australian government hiring people to search their
desert to look for meteorites. But fewer would be rusting away if the law
allowed european and north american searchers to search there (Or provide
australians themselves incentive to seach by not destroying their market).
Would outlawing meteorite searching in Libya (But making anti export laws)
help the local economy or world wide scientific interest?
However, I dont agree with this but lets assume for a minute that meteorites
are a natural resource just like oil or gold that happens to fall inside a
countries borders. Who owns the meteorites? You have to think that the most
valid owners of saharan meteorites are the nomads who currently live much
the same as they did for the past 5000 years. Even to this day they dont
observe national boundries and wither they are in war torn sudan and algeria
or morocco or mali they still cross the sahara without bothering to get
their passports stamped with customs and the governments there bother little
with them. The nomads have occupied this territory long before the national
borders got drawn up on a map thousands of miles away and even today those
lines on a map sometimes dont greatly affect them. So who are stealing the
meteorites from the people who have owned them for the past 5000 years?
Dealers like myself who just two hours ago made a deal to provide a desert
nomad with more money than his grandfather made in his lifetime for
providing me with some rocks that his grandfather rode his camel over 5000
times? Or European desert searchers who rape the desert of its meteorites
and travel in jeep providing little more to the local economy than the cost
of a visa, bribes to customs officials, and the cost of gasoline - most of
which is sent of to foreign countries. Much like a multinational oil company
going into a third world country, pay off some officials and siphon off the
oil leaving nothing to the local economy other than providing cash to the
military that keeps the government that accepted their bribes to let them
drill their wells (Any similarity to any real oil company is just a
coincidence of course).
>French people are lying to the Meteoritical Community, majority if >not all
>Moroccan meteorites are not found in situ, they are available >in Moroccan
Dont just crusify the french for fudging coordinates. Other nationalities
are guilty to - although often for reasons that I support. Its interesting
how meteorites seem to fall along national borders.
>We were the first to act against Tagounite strewnfield one year ago,
And I commend you on that one. I can support witholding or the giving of
vague coordinates - but outright lying helps nobody except a dealer trying
to overprice their meteorites. I agree with you that if at all possible save
this scientifically valuable information about coordinates and strewnfield
data - but not at the expence of losing the meteorites themselves (meaning
that 100% of the data is lost instead of just the strewnfield data).
>Now the DaG CO3 is the third largest carbonaceous
Yes, and searchers still donate 20 grams of a known meteorite so that they
can get a name and low TKW of a meteorite. If I had any say in the meteorite
world I would recomend getting rid of all of the DAG numbers on those CO3s
and give it a proper name (Like some nearly mountain for instance). That
would hurt the market value of those CO3s as then everybody would know that
the TKW is a quarter ton instead of 192 grams and there is enough data on
that strewnfield for the meteoritical to give it a name. If I went to Imilac
and found a 192 gram stone the meteoritical society wouldent give me a name
for it therby enabling me to sell a new pallasite with a TKW of only 192
grams. Of course out of necessity probable paired meteorites in the sahara
has to be given different names in a lot of cases but that CO3 strewnfield
is such an important meteorite (From both a collector and scientific point
of view) that it should be properly recogonized for what it is. That is of
course only my opinion so feel free to disagree with me. I can handle
opposing viewpoints. I might well feel differently if I had 95 kilos that
has 30 different names - each with a low TKW.
>At the moment few competent team working in desert >(Oman, Libya, >...)
>find the same quantity of >meteorites and rareties than the >whole nomad
This may or may not be correct but I doubt it. However, since "competent" in
this instance means better (And costlier) equipment such as a $300 GPS unit
and $40,000 land rover you should find more.
Something else that makes your arguement here mute is the fact that nomads
dont compete by searching the same areas as european (Or other) searchers.
You only search where your land rover can go. You wont be getting on a camel
anytime soon and searching for 4 months in areas that your 4x4 cant go. The
fact that the nomads dont get as much in no way affects what searchers do
(Other than reduce the value by increasing the supply of desert meteorites).
However since nomads go over the same areas they know where the strewnfields
are at and will look for newly exposed meteorites that wasnt there 6 months
earlier when they were there. The nomads are pretty familiar with
strewnfield data to so dont think that significantly less material will be
removed from a strewnfield by a nomad than by you - albiet the nomad might
take longer removing it due to his technological handicap. He will also make
up for it by bringing in all of his family members to search with him.
I can agree with the theoritical ideas that you sometimes present but since
they are not realistically feisbale in the real world (Like providing every
nomad who wants to get into the meteorite business with a GPS unit for
instance) you are not going to acompolish much.
I still say that you are complaining because you dont like the nomads
competation that is driving down the price of your meteorites that you are
taking two years to get classified. Maybe your efforts might be more
productive if you lobbied nasa to provide the cash to hire a couple
researchers to classify new finds - possibly for a fee. (Lets see, they paid
$28,000 a kilo for antarctic meteorites this year). Maybe searching the
sahara would be a more cost effective place to search.
Just my thoughts. I have half a ton of meteorites in my living room right
now that I got today. You wont be able to convince me right now that the
nomads are bad (Any more than I will be able to convince you that the nomads
activities are not hurting your business).
I might be interested in your offer of inviting north americans to be a
search partner though. I plan on being in the sahara myself several times
over the next year.
Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com.
Received on Tue 15 May 2001 01:26:50 AM PDT