[meteorite-list] Meteorite smugglers anger scientists

From: mark ford <markf_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2007 09:17:28 +0100
Message-ID: <6CE3EEEFE92F4B4085B0E086B2941B313912BF_at_s-southern01.s-southern.com>

Don't forget there are actually LOTS of Antarctic meteorites! I'd say
those figures are pretty good considering most (though not all) NWA's
are usually quite weathered, and off a bit less science value than the
pristine ones collected on ice... That's probably why the statistics
show non NWA's are under represented in literature. I doubt it's because
NWA's are too expensive to work on.

Mark Ford

-----Original Message-----
From: meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com
[mailto:meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com] On Behalf Of Jeff
Sent: 17 April 2007 01:42
To: Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Meteorite smugglers anger scientists

At 06:29 PM 4/16/2007, ensoramanda wrote:
>So if science is "losing important material for study" to
>dealers/hunters/collectors of NWA's, why dont we hear much about all
>the amazing research that must be coming out of the thousands of
>meteorites from Antarctica? !!! Science has exclusive use of these
>but I never seem to hear much exciting news about them...or am I
>just not looking in the right place?
>Graham Ensor, nr Barwell UK

You are looking in the wrong place. Far more important research
results have been coming from the Antarctic meteorites than from hot
desert meteorites.

I did a quick count of meteorites used in studies published in both
major meteoritics and cosmochemistry journals in 2006. Each tally
means one meteorite mentioned in one paper (if the same meteorite is
mentioned in 6 papers, it counts for 6). Here are the results:

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta:

Saharan+Oman meteorites: 22
Antarctic meteorites: 62
Non-Antarctic/non-saharan meteorites: 109 plus one paper with 50.

In Meteoritics and Planetary Science:

Saharan+Oman meteorites: 10
Antarctic meteorites: 80 plus one paper with many.
Non-Antarctic/non-saharan meteorites: 106 plus one paper with many.

The real question is, why are hot desert meteorites so miserably
UNDER-represented in the literature. I think there are several
answers, and there are probably many more:

1) Falls are often the most valuable samples for research due to lack
of weathering.
2) Research specimens of hot desert meteorites tend to be very small.
3) Hot desert meteorite are not well distributed in the research
collections of the world (especially in the US), and are much harder
for scientists to obtain.
4) All of the major Antarctic collections are well curated and have
formal procedures in place for obtaining samples.
5) Hot desert meteorite collections are useless for the study of irons.


>Greg Hupe wrote:
>>Hi Darren, Mike and List,
>>I couldn't have said it better myself! It takes a huge investment
>>to limp away from Morocco with a planetary or other rare meteorite
>>these days. I would have said "walk away", but after having to give
>>up your right arm, left leg, first born, etc. to get one of these.
>>Well, you get the idea!
>>Happy collecting!
>>Greg Hupe
>>The Hupe Collection
>>NaturesVault (eBay)
>>gmhupe at tampabay.rr.com
>>IMCA 3163
>>----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Farmer"
<meteoriteguy at yahoo.com>
>>To: <cynapse at charter.net>; <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
>>Sent: Monday, April 16, 2007 4:27 PM
>>Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Meteorite smugglers anger scientists
>>>The Moroccans are smarter now than most collectors.
>>>You will not get a lunar or Martian meteorite cheap
>>>there now. 90% of them can recognize one in a second.
>>>Don't feel too sorry for most of the Moroccans, they
>>>make much more money than most of us dealers who pay
>>>nearly retail for the material IN MOROCCO, and they
>>>live quite well off of the meteorites. It has greatly
>>>impacted the financial well-being of most of them
>>>involved in the meteorite trade. I mean come on, now
>>>they get tens of thousands of $$$ for a black rock
>>>they picked up in the sand. How often does that happen
>>>to someone in Germany or the UK?
>>>Michael Farmer
>>>--- Darren Garrison <cynapse at charter.net> wrote:
>>>>On Mon, 16 Apr 2007 15:06:52 -0400, you wrote:
>>>> >Hello Moni and List,
>>>> >If the article is referring to unclassified
>>>>material,which would make sense,
>>>> >thereby allowing material never to reach the
>>>>scientific community, the point
>>>> >is well taken.
>>>>The problem with that argument is that from the
>>>>stories that the people who go
>>>>to Morocco tell, those nomads aren't nearly as
>>>>clueless as the article writer
>>>>claims that they are. They may have been at first,
>>>>but they learned to notice
>>>>the difference between a common meteorite and a
>>>>valuable one. Which is why
>>>>people like MF and the Hupes have to make big
>>>>negotiations to get their lunars,
>>>>Martians, and other rare achondrites instead of
>>>>getting them for 10 cents a gram
>>>>in heaps of OCs. The rare stuff is going to be
>>>>recognized by the original
>>>>dealers and sold at rare stuff prices to rare stuff
>>>>Meteorite-list mailing list
>>>>Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
>>>Meteorite-list mailing list
>>>Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
>>Meteorite-list mailing list
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>Meteorite-list mailing list
>Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com

Dr. Jeffrey N. Grossman phone: (703) 648-6184
US Geological Survey fax: (703) 648-6383
954 National Center
Reston, VA 20192, USA

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Received on Tue 17 Apr 2007 04:17:28 AM PDT

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