Monday, February 10, 2020

Why Collect Meteorites?

So I was driving home with my daughter the other evening and we were talking about meteorites (imagine that!).  She point blank said, "Dad why do you collect meteorites?" It caught me off guard a little bit. I thought about it for a few seconds and told her a few things...

I collect meteorites for a few reasons, here is my list. What is yours??
  • I love all things space and I love all things geology.  Meteorites are a perfect combination of the two for me.  We are literally touching a rock that has traveled through space. How cool is that??
  • Meteorites are really REALLY old...the oldest objects we can actually hold on planet earth. They are OLDER than the earth. Yes, seriously. Grains in Murchison (and Allende) meteorite are presolar...they predate our SUN!
  • I love the history and stories attached to them.  For example, the Ensisheim meteorite fell in France on November 7, 1492.  That was the same year Columbus sailed for the New World.  I have a slice of Ensisheim in my collection.  On December 14, 1807 there were a series of stones falling near the town of Weston, Connecticut.  This was the FIRST meteorite to be classified in the newborn United States and thus is the beginning of meteorite science in the U.S. Thomas Jefferson was a naysayer and reportedly said “I would more easily believe that (a) Yankee professor would lie than that stones would fall from heaven.”  Once again, you can obtain a piece of this meteorite. What history!! There are so many more meteorites with cool stories attached to them
  • I like they way they look.  Some are shaped like rocket nosecones (we call this "oriented"). Some have flute marks and striations.  Some have glossy black fusion crust that looks like it was dipped in black glass. Some have pits and indentations (called regmaglypts to us meteorite folk).
  • They come from exotic places. A meteorite (rock) from Mars? Yes.  Fragments of asteroids like Vesta? Yes. A piece of the moon? Yup. How about the core (iron meteorite) of an old planetoid? Yes. How about a piece of the core-mantle boundary of a differentiated asteroid (pallasite)? Sure thing. Amazing.
  • They have VALUE.  Yes, believe it or not, some can be worth quite a bit of money (more than gold), but MANY are not worth a whole lot.  In any case, it is nice to be able to sell them and get money back out of them when you want to buy another!
If you want to buy a meteorite please visit MILE HIGH METEORITES!
The Ensisheim meteorite-Fell in 1492 when Columbus sailed for the New World

The Weston meteorite-Thomas Jefferson remarked on this

The Allende meteorite-Contains material older than our Sun

The Johnstown meteorite - Fragment of the asteroid Vesta

The Fukang meteorite - A pallasite from the core-mantle boundary of an asteroid