[meteorite-list] Exploring the Solar System in Antarctica (NWA vs Antarctica)

From: Martin Altmann <altmann_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:21:44 +0200
Message-ID: <003001cec5a2$88d753f0$9a85fbd0$_at_de>

But Jeff!

This shall be: The Earth: o

And now I hit 36,000 times the space-bar until I reach, almost a football-field wide to the right, the inner boarder of the inner asteroid main-belt.

Does it then really matters so much, that an object from out there hits the little letter "o" more on top or more to the side?

Hot desert meteorites do have three strong advances compared to the Antarctic finds.
Within all classes they outnumber the Antarctic finds by far, regarding the representation of distinct fall events.
On average the individual weights/masses of the hot desert finds are muuuuuch larger than those of the cold desert finds.
The procurement costs for hot desert meteorites are only a small fraction of the acquiring costs of the Antarctic finds.

(Ok. The latter perhaps not for the individual scientist/institute who gets Antarctic samples granted for free,
but somebody has to pay the infrastructure, equipment, personnel etc. of the Antarctic expeditions - in general the tax-payers of those countries taking part in the Antarctic searching campaigns).

"that the degree of weathering in Antarctic specimens is, overall, much less."

True is, that Antarctic meteorites seem to weather half as fast as desert finds (I remember to have read some gross figures), and that they suffer from a different form of contamination,
but seen the A-B-C-scheme versus the W0-W5-scheme, I dare to presume to say, that also that assertion is outdated today.
The freshness of the hot finds is of course a function of the number of finds too.
Don't forget that the very vast majority of the hot desert finds remains unclassified and unrecorded.
Reasons are a lack of places for classification and of funds; the low scientific gain to be expected by working on ordinary chondrites, thus not justifying the necessary amount of funds and qualified manpower to classify them
and finally economical considerations by the producers of the hot desert finds (remember those times, when NWA-OCs had cost less than Suisse cheese).

"The reasons for this are historical and curatorial."

Only indirectly. At least the reasons aren't scientifical ones at all, but the prime reason is politics.

Indeed several research facilities and institutional collections impose themselves a complete abdication of hot desert meteorites, though that is caused by legal imponderabilia.

As we all know - let it be a lack of knowledge, let it be the self-interest of a few -
some countries either perceive the circumstance, that meteorites do land on their territory already as a human achievement, and as a special national achievement, although the falls of stones are independent from topographic factors unlike the other natural precipitations like rain, snowfall, hail, dew
and subsume therefore meteorites under the legislation of cultural goods

or they reckon meteorites among the natural resources, although they aren't mined and not so many other goods come to my mind than my beloved mouse-milk (I read a pint costs 2k$), which are the same plentiful like meteorites and also I heard that using meteorites as a resource is regarded since the end of the bronze-age as somewhat optimistic..

or they protect them by law as natural monuments, which make meteorites, if they don't have that caliber (huh, uncle Alex, I almost wrote "rogue wave") of the Hoba whopper or the Cape York masses or if we don't speak about crater-related strewnfields,
to the smallest and most invisible monuments in existence.

I don't know any piece of advice, that question the professional meteorite scientists have to discuss,
Unfortunately they haven't any other global forum than the MetSoc for that, which is by its agenda apolitical.

Well, if I dare to speak for us collectors, who can't have such a scientific or academic access to the meteorites, but often a more historical one,

Our hearts are bleeding, whenever we miss in the Grand Collections of Calcutta, Vienna, London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Washington a second exhibition hall at least as large as the main meteorite exhibition or at least a storage in the depot facilities as large as that one for the historic ones,
filled with the opulence of the meteorites of OUR times: The hot desert meteorites.

I think, also in my senile retrospective, that it was an enormous mistake to miss out
in that, which once will be called by our grandchildren The Golden Age of Meteorites.

And here ends my annual standard rant ;-)
Which, note!, has lost its anger (since I work on finding a Reimer-Tiemann-reaction in the field of meteorites).

But let us sum up:
The discussion of "Good meteorite vs. Bad meteorite" is a debate of the late 1990s/very early 2000s.
Left today is rather: "Good meteorite vs. Evil meteorite", isn't it?
(However, they're all aliens).


-----Urspr?ngliche Nachricht-----
Von: meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com [mailto:meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com] Im Auftrag von Jeff Grossman
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 10. Oktober 2013 01:21
An: meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
Betreff: Re: [meteorite-list] Exploring the Solar System in Antarctica (NWA vs Antarctica)

As I've pointed out a number of times before, the scientific impact of past research on Antarctic meteorites vastly outweighs that of work on Saharan and other warm-desert meteorites. The reasons for this are historical and curatorial. And as a person who has done a lot of research on chondrites from both places, I can say from long experience that the degree of weathering in Antarctic specimens is, overall, much
less. Work on warm desert meteorites is growing in importance, that's
certain. This is especially true in terms of work on unique or unusual specimens, like NWA 7034, which are more plentiful in hot desert collections. But when most scientists want to do systematic studies, the first stops are still very likely to be collections of observed falls and Antarctic meteorites.

So I guess it boils down to the meaning of "best." For collectors, it's no contest, since you cannot privately own most Antarctics. For Science, with a capital S, Antarctics have generally been best, although some like Carl, are doing great work on special hot desert finds.

My take.

Received on Thu 10 Oct 2013 06:21:44 AM PDT

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