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Re: Misleading statements and the responsibility of Meteorite dealers.

	I am troubled by what I am reading in dealer catalogs, listings, 
and webpages. I see a lot of inaccuracies, and half truths in 
descriptions of meteorites. This is a touchy subject, but one that needs 
to be addressed.
	I recently read a short bullet on an H3 chondrite that has 
carbonaceous clasts in it. By this fact the dealer felt it was warranted 
to raise the price by almost 200%. It was implied by the bullet that this 
was a unique property, and one that was hard to come by.
	The fact is that ALL ordinary chondrites contain some form of 
carbonaceous clasts, and some even contain amino acids. Is this an 
attempt to mislead, or is it a genuine lack of knowledge of meteorite 
properties? I do not doubt the dealer in his abilitites to provide a good 
product, I do doubt however his wordings of his bullets to justify the 
high price.
	The Martian meteorite fiasco is still a bitter pill to be 
swallowed by all collectors.ALH84001is not related to the true SNC's by 
any way that would justify the outrageous prices asked by people. You 
see, the main group SNC's are all crustal rocks, formed at some depth in 
the Martian crust. These never experienced water alteration, and their 
formation temperature is too high to harbor life. ALH84001 is a surface 
rock that experienced low temperature water alteration, that may have 
been a catalyst to the presence of microscopic organisims. This 
experience is unique, and never been experienced by Zagami, Shergotty, 
Nahkla, and Chassigny. 
	Where then do dealers feel they have the right to hike the prices up? 
	I understand alot of people wanted a piece of Mars after the 
announcement in Aug., but instead of drastic price increase, maybe the 
better course would have been to curb selling, and only allow a certain 
amount maximum to purchase by each person. The profit took a scientific 
discovery, and made a mockery out of it. The use of possible life on Mars 
to sell material at inflated prices is unethical, and detrimental to all 
	I have also seen carbonaceous chondrites marketed with nomers 
such as "oldest material known",and "Oldest material in the Universe!". 
Where these statements arise from I do not know, but they mislead the 
public. No one can say this is the oldest material in the Universe, 
because quite frankly it's not. They are the oldest substance in our Solar 
System, but we do not know what lies in interstellar space. 
	Also The Mars moon Phobos, and Allende connection is wrong. It seems 
that remote sensing data indicate a correlation, but nothing definative. 
By virtue of oxygen isotopes, Allende had to form at the outer edge of 
the asteroid belt, at the very least. The researcher needs to explain how 
an asteroid can migrate through the belt, and stop in a parking orbit 
around Mars. Until this acheived, it is speculation at most, and to 
relay that to the public is not correct information.
	Howardites are coveted meteorites, because of their appearence, 
and rarity. They however are not so special as dealers would have you 
believe. They are regolith(soil) from an asteroid, just as most 
breciated, and xenolithic chondrites. In fact, almost all chondrites are 
regoliths of some kind. What is so unique about howardites to ask 
700.00-1200.00 per gram for them, and only 3.00 for Dimmit,a classic 
regolith breccia. I understand that less material dictates higher prices, 
but howardites are overpriced, by virtue of their supposed uniqueness. 
	Dealers need to tone down the glitter, and stick to the science. 
Science gave them their business, and they now tend to pervert the truth. 
I am not implying that all dealers are doing this on purpose, I am saying 
that most do not, so it seems, want to investigate a meteorite to the 
point of understanding. 
	This however is not the fault of the dealer, as science 
does little to help explain  what is exactly being stated in the 
research, and literature. How can those not schooled in petrology, and 
geochemistry understand what truly is happening?
	I offer the following suggestion: Take a class in physical 
geology. These can be taken at night, at most community colleges, and 
could even be taken pass/fail so that those who do not have time to do 
home work can still learn something. Understanding what is being bought 
and sold in this market is an imperative. To understand minerals, and 
rocks should be a requirement to deal in meteorites, as that is what they 
are made of. 
	I cannot, however, expect people to listen to me, as perhaps they 
were already turned off by the above statements. I do not hold any one 
person to blame, as I cannot make such a judgement. I can say that what I 
see is alot of times just, frankly, not true. All I can really say is 
this: Dealers should keep abreast of the meteorites they deal, and make an 
effort to portray only true, and accurate information. Speculation has no 
place in science, and it should have no place in collecting of 
	I am aware that I may have hurt some feelings, and created a 
disdain for my name, but what is right, is right. My intention is not to 
point fingers, or push blame on a single dealer, or dealers. I see things 
that are not right, and should be corrected. 
	I now, as I always have, offer my assistance to anyone wanting 
to know more about meteorites. All I need is to be asked, and I will be 
glad to help those interested anyway I can.

Frank Stroik

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