[meteorite-list] Meteorite surface temperature revisited

From: Matson, Robert <ROBERT.D.MATSON_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue Nov 23 16:41:00 2004
Message-ID: <AF564D2B9D91D411B9FE00508BF1C86904EE61D3_at_US-Torrance.mail.saic.com>

On another topic, S. Ray DeRusse opined:

> We realized the level of absurdity from you and many others when
> you endlessly debated whether a meteorite fall is hot to the touch
> back in 2002. You guys endlessly debated this issue and some trained
> scientists even weighed in on the issue but only served to cloud it.
> Since ya'll never settled it let me tell you the heat generated by
> a meteorite fall is proportional to the metal content.

Incorrect. Generated heat has little to do with the meteoroid

> That is to say the higher the metal content the hotter to the
> touch.....duh.

This is a different claim and a misleading statement since it
doesn't address the question of ~why~ a meteorite with higher
metal content would be warmer to the touch (a statement which
isn't true, by the way, in all cases). Far more important than
the metal content of a meteorite to its surface temperature
(shortly after landing) is its volume.

> That means that stony meteorites will only be warm to the
> touch whereas iron-nickel meteorites will be hot.

Small iron-nickel meteorites might be warm or even hot to the
touch; larger ones will be significantly cooler. Stony meteorites
are much more likely to be ice-cold than warm due to significant

Received on Tue 23 Nov 2004 04:37:07 PM PST

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