[meteorite-list] Rare space rock goes unnoticed for 140 years - space - 13 December 2013 - New Scientist
From: Michel FRANCO <mich-franco_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 20:35:12 +0100
No "Diepenveen", as the meteorite is now officially called, in the Met Bull, sorry.
De : meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com [mailto:meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com] De la part de Me Teor
Envoy? : vendredi 13 d?cembre 2013 19:28
? : Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
Objet : [meteorite-list] Rare space rock goes unnoticed for 140 years - space - 13 December 2013 - New Scientist
16:08 13 December 2013 by Govert Schilling
A rare meteorite that formed soon after the origin of the solar system has been discovered in a private geological collection ? 140 years after it fell to Earth. The stone, which is around 4.6 billion years old, was officially handed over to Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, earlier this week.
Bright lights and sizzling sounds accompanied the fall of the meteorite on 27 October 1873 in the village of Diepenveen in the Netherlands, according to a contemporary handwritten note. Two witnesses to the fall dug up the small, warm stone and gave it to the local schoolmaster. It remained a school specimen until 2009, when it was given to a collector. Dutch amateur astronomer Henk Nieuwenhuis then "rediscovered" the 5-centimetre-wide space rock when he examined the collection last year.
"It is very unusual for a space rock to remain unnoticed by astronomers and geologists for such a long time," says Leo Kriegsman, a geologist at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center.
The Diepenveen, as the meteorite is now officially called, is only the fifth to have fallen in the Netherlands as far as we know. The find is all the more remarkable because the meteorite turns out to be of a very rare, carbon-rich type known as a CM carbonaceous chondrite ? the same type as the one that triggered a meteorite hunt when it fell to Earth in California last year.
"CMs comprise less than 1 per cent of all known meteorites," says geologist Marco Langbroek of the Free University in Amsterdam, where the Diepenveen underwent its first analysis.
CM carbonaceous chondrites contain up to 2 per cent carbon, often in the form of microscopic diamonds. They also contain organic matter like amino acids, which some researchers believe brought the building blocks of life to Earth.
"It is very interesting news," says meteorite researcher Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. "CM meteorite falls are indeed rare. If the meteorite has been stored well and not subjected to too much terrestrial contamination it could be quite interesting."
However, fellow meteorite researcher Michael Zolensky of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is more cautious. "It will be thoroughly contaminated in any case, so only results for non-terrestrially occurring amino acids may be believable," he says.
Tiny samples of the brittle and porous meteorite are now being studied at laboratories in California, New Mexico and Switzerland. "We hope to publish our analysis results sometime next year," says Langbroek.
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Received on Fri 13 Dec 2013 02:35:12 PM PST