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Fragments of the Solar System

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Presentation on theme: "Fragments of the Solar System"— Presentation transcript:

1 Fragments of the Solar System
Meteorites Fragments of the Solar System

2 Dedicated to Dr. Elbert King
First director of the Lunar Receiving Lab Recovered a lot of Allende!! Meteoriticist

3 Meteorites Meteoroids Meteors Meteorites
“small” rocks orbiting in space Meteors “rocks” entering the atmosphere and glowing Most are the size of a grain of sand Some are a lot bigger!!! Meteorites Rocks from space that have hit the Earth

4 Thunderstone of Ensisheim

5 Thunderstone of Ensisheim What’s left of it

6 What Holbrook supposedly looked like 1946

7 Famous painting of the Shikote-Alin meteorite on a USSR postage stamp.

8 Meteorites Irons iron + nickel Stoney Irons Stoney
Mesosiderites MES silicate + iron Pallasites PAL iron + silicate (olivine) Stoney Chondrites silicate + some iron (sometimes) Ordinary Chondrites H, L, LL Carbonaceous Chondrites C, CO, CV, CM, CK Others – Enstatite Chondrites E – Rumruti R Achondrites HED – from Vesta SNC – from Mars ALUN – from the Moon

9 Irons Cape York – “discovered” by Peary from Greenland actually discovered by local Inuit

10 Irons

11 Irons

12 Irons Witmanstatten Patterns Gibeon

13 Irons Willamette

14 Irons Hoba – 60 tons Campo del Cielo

15 Stony Irons Mesosiderites - MES
Silicate based – with a lot of metal running through it. NWA1879

16 Stoney Irons Another mesosiderite -MES

17 Stoney Irons Mesosiderite Morristown

18 Stoney Iron Pallasites
Iron based – with olivine crystals sprinkled through Thought to be from the core- mantle boundary of the parent asteroid

19 Stoney Iron Pallasite – lit from behind

20 Stoney - Chondrites Ordinary Chondrites
H (High Metal) – L (Low Metal) – LL (Very Low Metal) Inside (Brecciated) Outside (Crusted) Probably a L4-5 – this comes from NWA – Morocco

21 Chondrules / Chondrites

22 Stoney - Chondrites Carbonaceous chondrites
Residue from the formation of the Solar System – 4.5+ Billion Years old Murcheson – CM2 Allende – CV3.2

23 Stoney - Achondrites HED Howardite DAG 844
Meteorites from Asteroid 4 Vesta HED Howardite DAG 844

24 Stoney - Achondrites HED Eucrite Millbillillie

25 Stoney - Achondrites HED Diogenite Johnstown

26 Stoney - Achondrites Meteorites from Mars SNC Shergottite Zagami

27 Stoney - Achondrites SNC DAG 476 Dhofar 019

28 Stoney - Achondrites Meteorites from the Moon ALUN DAG 400

29 How do we know they are from Mars / the Moon / 4 Vesta??
Mars: Viking 1 and 2 had soil and atmosphere analyzers. The percentages of the elements and isotopes are the same as the SNC meteorites – and different from others! The Moon: Same story – except we have real moon rocks to compare them to Vesta: Spectroscopy of Vesta indicates it is made of HED materials, and no other asteroid is. Recent studies show a great crater on Vesta where some of these materials must have been ejected from.

30 How to Study Meteorites
What does it look like (big picture) What does it look like (microscope) What elements are in it (chemistry and microprobe) What isotopic ratios are there (microprobe) Where did it come from (compare to asteroids and planets) How did it fall (distribution)

31 Meteorites / Meteorwrongs
Meteorites are not hot when they hit the earth! Almost all meteorites are magnetic! Almost all meteorites have some visible metal (though sometimes only a little). Most meteorites are denser than local rocks. Meteorites don’t have holes/bubbles in them. For real analysis you have to take it to an expert

32 How to Study Meteorites
Thin Sections – The coolest way to look at meteorites is in “thin section”. Take a thin slice of the rock, glue it to a microscope slide and grind/polish it until it is 30 micrometers thick. You can then look at it under a “petrographic microscope” with crossed polarizing filters. The colors tell you the minerals!

33 Eucrite Enstatite

34 Richfield LL3.7

35 Pultusk

36 SNC

37 Some chondrules in thin section



40 Eucrite thin section Looks a lot like Kilauea basalts!

41 Apollo 17 Basalt

42 Apollo 12 Basalt




46 Impact!!! When a Big rock hits – 50 meters or more – it can make a rather big hole in the ground!!!!

47 Meteor Crater


49 Wolf Creek

50 Lake Manicoagan

51 Chixilub

52 Brent Crater

53 Pretoria “Saltpan”

54 Sudbury + Lake Wanapitei

55 Disclaimer Aloha I put together these power points for use in my science classes. You may use them in your classes. Some images are public domain, some are used under the fair-use provisions of the copyright law, some are mine. Copyright is retained by the owners! Ted Brattstrom

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