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Re: Misleading statements and the responsibility of Meteorite dealers.

fes@UWYO.EDU wrote:
>         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 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

My dear Mr. Stroik,

Since you are "supposedly" concerned with what is "right", I submit this
reckoning to you.  And I will forego my experience thus far with the
scientific community and not communicate my feelings, I will try to be
unbiased in this presentation.  
For all you have said, "consider this."  I found what I believed to be a
meteorite in my front yard. After watching the movie Asteroids, I
decided to pursue this further.  For my part, while I am not a
scientist, I do hold a Master's Degree (legitimate from Webster
University).  I say that only to say that I understand how to do
academic research.  I began to read everything I could about meteorites,
meteoroids, asteroids, impactites, breccia, tektites, Mars rocks, and
the Martian soil.  The information I collected came from the NASA page,
the JSC page, the various meteorite pages on the net, text and photos
from the library and whatever they could order about the subject. 
Needless to say, my meteorite has the thumb prints, and even some
regolypts that go at least a thumb down into the rock.  It contained
breccia, if my understanding of what breccia consists of is correct.  My
understanding is that breccia is a solid rock that when cracked open or
chipped shows signs of fragments of other rocks fused together into the
solid mass.  This (breccia) is found in meteorites where the meteorite
has been extremely hot and melted around the breccia.  There were
several.  Additionally, when it comes to impactites, they are usually
consistent with various rock particles being impacted into the meteorite
usually in one or more of the regolypts, if they are deep enough.  It is
my understanding that regolypts are caused from the meteorite cooling as
it comes through the atmosphere and gases escaping from within the
meteorite.  I understand that most meteorites have some Fe or iron
contents and usually have some kind of magnetism.  My meteorite does
not.  However, I understand that not all do, and the ones that do not
are even more special.  Now to continue on, I compared more than thirty
photos of meteorites from the net and several from books including
Norton's book "Rocks from Space".  A very close rendering of my rock can
be seen on page 162 of that book, and there is another one further in
the book.  
Now to get on to the bottom line.  When I first introduced my rock to
the internet marketplace, I guess the scientist could tell that I was a
novice rock collector as I am.  The first reaction seemed to be, let us
use them (this family (mine)) as guinea pigs.  Needless to say afront
one.  Next there was some text entered on the net about the social and
economic implications of purchasing my rock versus the scientific need
to research it.  Afront two.  I sent off samples to the University of
Arkansas at Little Rock Planetarium, the University of Arkansas' Dr.
Derek Sears, the page master for the Astronomy Department at the
University of Maryland, a local geologist, Brian Petrovic, Casper, and
the Swiss Meteorite Lab.  The University of Arkansas has yet to respond,
the page master at University of Maryland passed the rock sample and
photo to a representative of NASA's Near Astroid Project. The NASA
representative said that she could tell from the photo why I felt it was
a meteorite, but that in her mind it was sandstone. Though she said that
it resembled a large iron meteorite in its features (the holes etc.) and
because there had been some weathering, and that the rock showed signs
of some kind of Fe activity.  Besides, she said, if it were the type
meteorite that it appeared to be, it would be very heavy.  Question, How
does she know how heavy it is?  Suffice it to say that it is very very
heavy.  Additionally, in my research, it seems to me that I found
somewhere that the main soil element on Mars is sand, and the storms
that appear on that planet are in fact sand storms.  The local geologist
said that he did not know what it was, but after I told him what the
person at Maryland said, he said it was sandstone and that he had seen
such rocks in this area.  I naturally asked him where so that I too
could view them.  I have never seen anything like the rock I have
anywhere.  The representative from Maryland asked me if there was a
river nearby.  The answer is yes, but there are no rocks like mine
around it.  I understand from a local Indian native's books that this
area was once a part of the Gulf of Mexico.  Anyway when the person at
Maryland replied, she asked if she could keep the sample and the photo.
Well???  In the matter of the Swiss Meteorite Lab, Mr. Rolf Buehler said
that to him the rock was some kind of quartz rock.  Yet he put a photo
of the sample I sent him on the internet for sale claiming that it was a
new find from some other foreign country.  The previous elaboration is
not only an afront to me, but to every professor I have ever had and
each of the educational institutions that I attended.  To me they are
saying that somehow I scammed my way onto the Dean's list for low those
many years and the folks who granted my Master's Degree were in fact no
better that third rate educators at best.  Hog wash.  I am not only
ready to back my research up, but from the responses that I have
received about my meteorite, I could probably start at this late date in
my life and be a better space geologist than anyone I have thus far had
contact with.
So while I understand your position about integrity in the analysis of
the fair economic value of meteorites, in my experience with this
section of the scientific community thus far, I would say while you moan
over this issue, consider the source.  Maybe they don't know what they
are talking about anyway.  Which leads to the question I asked of NASA
about the taxpayer money about to be spent on Mars exploration, when
meteorites which would cost a lot less than 10 or 20 billion dollars. 
But that is another issue which deserves its own book.

Lawrence D. Linteau

P.O. Box 1216
Malvern, AR  72104


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