[meteorite-list] Some thoughts on find coords

From: Marc Fries <chief_scientist_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 08:12:31 -0700
Message-ID: <405F8D0C-8202-414A-AE44-36EBCCF5FD1B_at_galacticanalytics.com>

Greetings all

        I've been talking with a few people about logging the Battle Mountain meteorites, and I'd like to start some discussion on the topic of find coordinates. This is NOT directed at any one person, but I would like to editorialize a bit. I'm getting a lot of push-back about printing find coordinates and I'd like to open the topic to general discussion.

        Historically, the locations of found meteorites have been a closely guarded secret. That made a lot of sense when meteorite hunting relied most heavily on eyewitness reports. A hunter could easily put in many, many miles of walking before coming across a meteorite. For finds that are made with weather radar, however, I don't think its the same situation. When I post radar analyses, it is like posting a treasure map that says, "Go Here". At that point everyone knows where the meteorites are, and it seems to me that the locations of individual stones aren't nearly as important as they were in the past. (Strewn fields without detailed radar data are another matter, of course.) Where those locations do matter are to A) the science behind describing the meteorite fall, and B) the value of the individual meteorite since a well-documented meteorite should be worth more than a random stone from a given fall.

        I am a scientist, and my first instinct is to collect, analyze, and -share- data. I understand where that is at odds with the level of secrecy needed in the past, but I think that that level of secrecy is no longer needed and actually works contrary to the value of meteorites, both monetary and scientific. On the Galactic Analytics website, I'm willing to go against my better instincts and hide find locations, at least until a scientific paper is released describing the fall. But to be honest, I think that's a little silly - I'll basically have a table showing meteorites with the find locations redacted, and then you can scroll down the page a bit and see a map showing where the meteorites are.

        So let me throw this out there as a general question - is it really important to hide the find locations?

Marc Fries
Received on Fri 07 Sep 2012 11:12:31 AM PDT

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