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Home Antarctic MeteoritesAntarctic Meteorite NewslettersAMN 27,1 Program News
Volume 27 No. 1 – February 2004

Program News

Curator Comments

Kevin Righter, NASA-JSC

This newsletter contains classifications for 278 new meteorites from the 2001 and 2002 ANSMET collections. They include samples from MacAlpine Hills, LaPaz Icefields, Pecora Escarpment, Meteorite Hills, and Queen Alexandra Range. Detailed macroscopic and petrographic descriptions are given for 36 of the new meteorites; 1 lunar anorthositic breccia, 3 lunar basalts (paired with LAP 02205 from the previous newsletter), 2 acapulcoites, 2 diogenites, 6 howardites, 5 carbonaceous chondrites (CM2), 4 enstatite chondrites, 7 type 3 chondrites, a mesosiderite, a metal-rich L6 chondrite, an EH and L chondrite impact melts and 2 shocked H5 chondrites. The two new impact melt rocks (LAP 02225 - EH and MAC 02750 - L), join two other meteorites in our collection that have been designated impact melts — QUE 99396 (H) and QUE 99473 (EH). Two irons that appear in Table 1 and Table 2 are paired with MET00400 which was classified in the September 2001 newsletter.

Lunar Meteorite Compendium

Close to 30 lunar meteorites are now known in world collections, and provide a complementary sample set to the Luna and Apollo samples collected in the 1970's. Although some nice lunar meteorite compilations are maintained (e.g., there is not an in depth data compilation such as the Martian meteorite compendium maintained by Chuck Meyer of the ARES curation office. In an effort to bridge this gap, we are initiating a Lunar Meteorite Compendium. It is expected that this compendium will be available in both a CD-ROM and website formats, but a detailed schedule for such has not yet been developed. Stay tuned for more information on this topic. In the meantime if you have some lunar meteorite publications that you think may be relevant to such a project, please send them to

Changes to the Newsletter

The Antarctic Meteorite Newsletter has been available in three formats — a hard copy that is mailed to libraries, a PDF file that is available online for download, and an online version. Because the image quality and resolution on the online version is superior, images of the meteorites will no longer be available in the hard copy or PDF file. Requesters who would like photographic information about the new meteorites must use the online images.

Report on the 2003-2004 ANSMET Season

Ralph Harvey, ANSMET

Ralph Harvey with a 20kg ordinary chondrite

Ralph Harvey with a 20kg ordinary chondrite

I love an election year — all the hyperbole, mudslinging, back-patting, and back-stabbing, everyone clawing toward higher ground as the tide of swirling, noxious innuendo rises higher and higher. I love it because, for a short while, my utterly strange job seems composed, low-stress, and sane. Furthermore, in spite of all the inane noise and chatter, I have the great pleasure to add to the plethora of solid good news coming from the Planetary Sciences (of course if it was bad news I'd blame it on the media, or at the very least software).

The 03–04 ANSMET season is now officially behind us, and qualifies as a tremendous success. For the second season in a row we fielded two parties — a four person team whose goal was to explore new or poorly-known icefields and recover whatever specimens they found along the way; and an eight person team dedicated to systematic specimen recovery from a well characterized source. Together, these two teams recovered 1358 specimens (a new record) from about a dozen icefields scattered around the southern Transantarctic Mountains, with an estimated total mass of 350 kg (second place only because ALHA76009 itself was 407 kg). Significantly, it's not just the overall numbers that are higher. The proportion of achondrites, carbonaceous chondrites and unusual ordinary chondrites is higher than I've seen in a long time (I estimate about 8%) with relatively minor contributions from showerfalls. This is a very welcome change after the many years of recoveries in the Foggy Bottom (QUE) area, where every new L/LL5 fragment brought tears. It's a fair bet that many readers of this newsletter will find something exciting to work on from the 03xxx meteorite collection.

There's simply not enough room here to describe everything that took place this season; so let me finish by listing the 03-04 team members (in no particular order): Nancy Chabot, John Schutt, Bill McCormick, Gordon Osinski (Oz), Monika Kress, Andrew Dombard, Tim Swindle, Oliver Botta, Gretchen Benedix, Barbara Cohen, Rene Martinez, Chris Cokinos, Erika Eschholtz and myself. Supporting the amazing recoveries was a wealth of courage, camaraderie and accomplishment, so make sure you ask these folks for a story or two. And watch this newsletter in the late summer for the first exciting reports on the 03-04 specimens.

Finally, if I'm elected, a SNC in every laminar flow hood. I promise.

Field Team in Antarctica 2003-2004

Field Team in Antarctica 2003-2004

Rene and Oz in Antarctica during 2003-2004 season

Rene and Oz in Antarctica during the 2003-2004 season


Tribute to Dr. Robert Walker

(text by Scott Messenger)

Dr. Robert Walker

Dr. Robert Walker

The scientific community lost a long time friend in the recent passing of Dr. Robert Walker. He was a strong supporter of ANSMET, and was a member of the search team during two field seasons (1984/1985, 1990/1991). Bob has had an immeasurable impact on the field of cosmochemistry, ranging from his leadership in the distribution and analysis of the Apollo lunar samples, to chair of MWG and to his pioneering role in the analysis of stardust from meteorites and interplanetary dust. His wide-ranging influence on diverse fields of space science was celebrated in a recent symposium held in his honor at Washington University in Saint Louis (, resulting in a special issue of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, No. 24 (December, 2003). An account of his experiences in the formative years of extraterrestrial materials research is recounted in an interview conducted by Ursula Marvin (Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences vol. 36, supplement, September 2001, p. A275-A283).