[meteorite-list] Clarification? ...Prospectors, Scientists Vie for Rocks More Precious Than Gold (Meteorites)

From: Martin Altmann <altmann_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Feb 27 07:40:20 2006
Message-ID: <001c01c63b9a$f38aa570$936cfea9_at_name86d88d87e2>

Hiho list,


As so often Slow Brain Martin has difficulties to understand the whole
thing. Perhaps the Killgores may explain us, what this new Center is all
about, to avoid misunderstandings or deformation by media or wrong

On 1st of February Ron Baalke posted to the list an announcement and the
introduction of that new Center, written by Lori Stiles
"UA Scientist and Private Collector Form Center to Save Meteorites"

There the aims of the Center were defined:

They want to preserve meteorites for being cut and for science, they want to
classify, to document, to curate them and they want "to control the market
situation" and to buy them.

"The whole point of what we're doing is to prevent people from cutting
every rare meteorite into tiny, little pieces," said Marvin Killgore

"SWMC will offer collectors, dealers, owners and amateur enthusiasts a fair
price for part of the vanishing meteorite legacy."

"And after UA
buys some, or all, of the meteorite for the public repository, everybody in
the market will know just how much of the material is still left for sale."


Before on 20th of January Dolores Hill forwarded a clarification of
Lauretta/Killgore, because Killgore was attacked because of a possible
conflict of a commercial dealer being employed by a non-commercial
scientific institution.

There they state as goals:
Education, preservation, classification, to become one of the largest


They have also a homepage: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/swmc/

The most bold set assertion there reads:

" The preservation of these treasures from outer space requires an
organization with the financial resources to acquire and preserve this
material while it is still available."

The before quotes aims are found there + the goal of raising a fund of ten
million $.


(those statements of an enmity between science and commerce, the heritage of
"million" of years accumulated meteorites, and that science hadn't the means
to buy all the stuff - we don't have to discuss, take it for a legitimate
dramatisation for reaching the goals of the Center faster).

Well, I thought: Great! They want to preserve meteorites from cutting. They
want to preserve rare types for science and they want to purchase meteorites
at fair prices.

So to support those aims, I offered them the world largest entire ureilite
stone (according to the Bulletin-Database and Kenna was cut) with 8.4kgs
(the largest Shisr 007 stone was only half as big), to prevent it from the
fate of being destroyed by cutting and I offered it at 2.5$ per gram - at
least for them that should be a "fair price".

I never received an aswer.


And finally now, we read the article by Joshua Brownt,
where the before mentioned aims of the Center seem to have changed
or at least were strongly reduced:

" In exchange for getting a piece of a dealer's meteorite to study and add
to their lending library, the center's scientists will verify and classify
the dealer's rock so customers will know what they are buying."

"The center promises to cut that verification time down by hiring staff
whose only job is meteorite identification."

That would mean nothing so remarkable, in my eyes, not worth to make such a
noise and it wouldn't be a new approach.
The only difference to the situation before would be, that the University of
Arizona will add on its capacity to classify meteorites.
And that from now on, if someone wants to have classified his/her meteorite
in only a few weeks, it will be for free.
That's an improvement.

In general classifications in other places are free too, but take quite a
and for a classification in all cases everywhere a deposit for science of
20g or 20% of a stone must be supplied,
so I can't see here a New Deal.

If Joshua Brownt is right,
then the SWMC would be nothing else as a place for classification,
and the big words spread would be not adequate,
as all what would be left is: We do classification faster than others
(which is a good thing), bring your stones to us, so that the university
collection can grow with the type specimens.

So I think a clarification should be necessary, as I suppose, that some of
those articles maybe are incomplete.
-----Urspr?ngliche Nachricht-----
Von: meteorite-list-bounces_at_meteoritecentral.com
[mailto:meteorite-list-bounces_at_meteoritecentral.com] Im Auftrag von stan .
Gesendet: Montag, 27. Februar 2006 08:17
An: baalke_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov; meteorite-list@meteoritecentral.com
Betreff: RE: [meteorite-list] Prospectors,Scientists Vie for Rocks More
Precious Than Gold (Meteorites)
Wichtigkeit: Hoch
>This worries some scientists who study meteorites for clues about the
>early life of our solar system. They wonder how many new finds they'll
>get access to before the space rocks are sliced into collectible
>fragments and disappear into private collections.
>''I don't think of them as my competition," Lauretta said, ''because
>they're out there pounding the hot desert ground, making new
>discoveries, when I don't have time to do that."
am i the only person who finds the 'push' of these articles about Kilgore's 
efforts personally offensive?
comemrcial meteorite exploration - most of it int he last decade - has 
resulted in more new types of meteorites and more precious planetary samples
than the combined historic efforts of research collection. i'm not faulting 
the academics, they have limited time and money to work with, but quite 
simply the oly way these rocks would never be avalible for study is if they 
were left in the desert - something the academic world seems largely content
to do. very rarely is an unusual stone found that isnt formally classified 
at some point. when this is done the type specimin is curated at the 
classifying laboratory and avalible for study by any qualified researcher 
who wants it. the faster exciting new material comes to the collectors 
market the faster type specimins of scientifically important material will 
be avalible to researchers - at no cost to science I might ad (AFIK no one 
lab is paying for the privalge of doing classifications, if anything the 
reverse is true)
I'm going to write the author of this article and sugegst anyone who might 
feel the same as i do should as well...
Meteorite-list mailing list
Received on Mon 27 Feb 2006 07:40:10 AM PST

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb