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Re: halite in Monahans

In a message dated 98-07-24 00:54:33 EDT, you write:

<<  Steve Arnold has also demonstrated how fragile the salt crystals can be.
 Steve had cut off a 1.1 gram fragment piece of Monahans that had
 a "gorgeous blue crystal", but in doing so took the meteorite out of
 its protective bag.  He then took three photos of the fragment, clearly
 showing all sides of the meteorites. The photos did not show a
 blue crystal anywhere on the meteorite, it had already disappeared. 
 Many people had noticed the absence of the blue crystal in this
 fragment, and Steve has remained silent to the inquiries about this. >>

  Ron,   I think you are mistaken about a lot of things here.   I will let
Steve Arnold's  letter to me that I posted to the list stand on this issue:

Hello Geoff,

Yes I did.  If you are concerned about the statement:

"There is a very high probablility [sic] that the halite crystals have
degraded and become unrecognizable!!." 

I can inform you that I was in Monahans last Wednesday and the rock looks
great!  As you know the rock fell and was recovered within minutes of the
fall.  It was confiscated by the police shortly afterwards where it remained
at the police station.  

The next day another meteorite was found lodged in the street's pavement in a
crater that was formed by the rock.  (I do not know if any automobiles ran
over the rock, so I will not speculate on facts that I don't know about.)
Having been "exposed to the elements" overnight, it then joined the first rock
at the police station.  Where they both were handled and examined by several
people (including Mike Farmer) as I understand.

A NASA employee came to Monahans on the third day and took the rocks to
Houston.  Later they were returned to Monahans sealed in plastic bags where
they remained until the PEOPLE magazine photo shoot.  The meteorite was cut
out of the bags, and as the famous photo shows, it was handled with rubber
gloves.  After the shoot, the rock was put in a sturdy zip lock baggy, where
it remained until I arrived last Wednesday.

Orlando Lyles (one of the fathers of the finders) and I removed the rock and
we removed a ~50g piece with a hammer and chisel.  We then broke down that
piece into smaller pieces so that each of the boys could get to keep a piece.
This also allowed us to get an accurate weight on the main mass so that the
bidders would know what the exact weight is.

On the fresh new broken surface there was a beautiful purple crystal revealed.
And on several of the fragments that I was able to personally keep, there were
also more crystals revealed.  I was excited since this indicated to me that
there should be a good distribution of crystals throughout the rock so that
even small pieces will have a good chance of revealing them.

Monahans, Texas is a very very dry place.  I am not sure it has even rained
since the fall, so the threat of moisture in the air effecting the unique
halite and sylvite crystals seems to not have been a problem at all.  On the
old broken surface that occurred minutes after the fall, a large purple
crystal had been revealed (the opposite face of the gorgeous piece that was at
Lang's site a while back).  This crystal, fully exposed, was still intact,
apparently not affected by any "elements" that it had been exposed to over all
this time.

Geoff, if you are concerned that the piece you may get won't need one of those
special desiccant containers, I would have to say it will still need it,
because the crystals are still there.

Steve Arnold

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