[meteorite-list] Changes to Guidelines for Meteorite Nomenclature

From: Jeff Grossman <jgrossman_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Nov 1 09:31:53 2004
Message-ID: <>

To: Respondents to the Call for Comments,
     The Meteorite-list,
     Meteoritical Bulletin mailing list

From: Jeff Grossman, Chair, Nomenclature Committee

Dear all,

Last summer, I requested input from the community on two proposals under
consideration by the Nomenclature Committee (NomCom). The first would
change the rules by which meteorites from Morocco and surrounding areas are
named, allowing well-documented meteorites to receive names other than
Northwest Africa (NWA). The second would change the rules for naming
paired meteorites from dense collection areas. I received many thoughtful
comments from people representing all parts of the meteorite community,
including scientists, dealers, collectors, and educators. These comments
were reviewed by the NomCom, who, after a rather long and complicated
debate, have now revised the Guidelines for Meteorite Nomenclature. Here
is what was done:

1) Meteorites from Morocco and surrounding areas may now receive unique,
non-NWA names if they are very well documented as to their geographic
coordinates and the circumstances under which they were found. The NomCom
will judge each request individually. Meteorites with provisional NWA
numbers are eligible for receipt of a non-NWA name. The names of NWA
meteorites previously approved by the NomCom may NOT be altered.

2) The rules for handling paired meteorites from dense collection areas
were not changed. Each new specimen will continue to receive a unique
number and be subject to the existing type-specimen requirements. There was
strong support in most parts of the meteorite community AND on the NomCom
for changing these rules in some way that would allow the Committee to
recognize pairings, which in turn would reduce the type-specimen
requirements for certain paired meteorites. However, the Committee was
unable to devise a practical way to do this. Of particular concern were
potential legal consequences for scientists involved in disputed pairing
decisions and the high administrative burden that any new system would
place on the NomCom. The NomCom remains open to new ideas about changing
these rules, but for now there will be no change.

The revised Guidelines for Meteorite Nomenclature are online at

Thanks to all of you who took the time to send me your opinions. I
apologize to those of you getting this message more than once... there is
significant overlap of the mailing lists I have to use.


Dr. Jeffrey N. Grossman
Chair, Meteorite Nomenclature Committee (Meteoritical Society)
US Geological Survey
954 National Center
Reston, VA 20192, USA
Phone: (703) 648-6184 fax: (703) 648-6383
Received on Mon 01 Nov 2004 09:32:15 AM PST

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