[meteorite-list] Brownlees in Rainwater

From: Francis Graham <francisgraham_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 06:31:34 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <98151.80671.qm_at_web58712.mail.re1.yahoo.com>

Dear List
  I have a question which has been vexing me for some
  I was introduced to a method of collection of
micrometeorites by Larry Megahan some years ago, which
consisted of collecting rainwater and then wrapping a
powerful rare Earth magnet in Saran (TM)wrap. Placing
the Saran wrap on a glass plate, and examining it
under the microscope, one could see many ferromagnetic
particles. Some were rounded and ablated and it was a
strong guess that these were micrometeorites.
  I have had some students try this project and indeed
some of the particles are microspheroids of ablated
iron, similar to so called "Brownlee particles"
colected in the stratosphere.
  But I have reason to be suspicious, especially if
the collection is near a former industrial or mining
  MY QUESTION IS, has this method, widely circulated
in presecondary teaching circles, ever been critically
evaluated by electron microprobe analysis, X-Ray
fluorescence or some such?
  And at what size level does a meteorite cease to be
of interest?
  It would naively seem, that although a very very
very tiny percentage of meteorites are lunars or
Martians, if a way to rapidly identify micrometeorites
can be done, a lot more information on Mars and the
Moon could be obtained, simply because there are so
many micrometeorites. This would include collection in
the stratosphere as Brownlee did, maybe piggybacked on
surveillance aircraft.
  But one question at a time.
Francis Graham

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Received on Tue 20 Nov 2007 09:31:34 AM PST

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