Meteorites classified!

We have news…. its a big day for the project as we have our first batch of meteorites that have been formally classified by the Meteoritical Society Nomenclature committee and have now been published in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database!

A list of the newly classified meteorites can be found here https://ukantarcticmeteorites.wordpress.com/meteorite-discoveries/ , and you can click on each meteorite name to learn more and see some pictures of the samples. So far all of those classified from our 1st field season come from parent bodies in the asteroid belt: all are undifferentiated ordinary chondrite types. This means that they come from some from asteroids that represent some of the earliest Solar System building block rocky material that never got big enough to completely melt (hence they are undifferentiated), but they are all are from quite a common type of meteorite group (the ordinary chondrites). So far all the types classified are stony and not metal types – meaning that they are dominantly made up of silicate minerals rather than metal. In case you get lost with all the terms used – an overview of the different types of meteorites can be found at https://ukantarcticmeteorites.wordpress.com/meteorite-classification/

The first classified batch include nine meteorites: two were recovered from from the Hutchison Icefield area (these ones are called HUT), and seven from the Outer Recovery icefield area (these ones are called OUT). The number after the acronym name specifies the particular sample type. If you want to read more about the names of icefields we visited you can read here https://ukantarcticmeteorites.wordpress.com/2021/04/15/new-meteorites-new-names/

This has been the cumulation of a lot of hard work from the field search teams from the 1st 2018-2019 field season (Julie Baum and Katie Joy) and logistics support personnel, the BAS cargo transfer team, the local meteorite lab and classification team – lead by Jane MacArthur with help from Thomas Harvey, Rhian Jones and Katie Joy. A huge thanks to the local analytical lab leads who have kept the instruments we use to image the samples and determine their chemistry (Lewis Hughes and Jon Fellowes), those who support the labs we use to prepare our samples (John Cowpe and Lydia Fawcett) and appreciate key advice from Andrew Smedley, Romain Tartese and Geoff Evatt. Thanks also to all the external help we have had from the Natural History Museum staff in helping these efforts, and to the Meteoritical Society Nomenclature team and Meteorite Bulletin teams for reviewing, approving and sharing the samples’ new names.

You can also read a blog from Jane on the lab curation approach where she will talk about how we go from picking up a sample in the field to working out what type of meteorite it represents.

We also have more samples under review by the nomenclature team so will announce what else we have found in the near future… stay tuned for more meteorites to come…

Photo of the largest sample found in season 1 – now called OUT 18021 (or still affectionately referred to as the melon on account of its large size). the scale cube is 1 cm in size. Image: Lost Meteorites of Antarctica / The University of Manchester

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