Meteorites

 

[Information kindly provided by Trevor Gould]

 

I think I found a meteorite:

 

A freshly fallen meteorite is generally more valuable to science than one you found that has been there for thousands of years and been exposed to the elements.
South African law requires you to apply in advance to search for meteorites in a specific area and for a specific time. However, if you are witness to a fall, it is possibly permissible to recover the fresh fall and hand it in for analysis.

  1. Do not touch it with your hands! If it really is a meteorite, a chemical analysis will be required and the acids on your fingertips will skew the results. We need to get fresh, untouched specimens!
  2. Record it. Use your GPS and record the precise location of the find.
  3. Photograph it before you touch it! Please take a photograph or digital image of the meteorite-maybe in situ. This is also useful.
  4. Try to collect it using a clean plastic bag over your hands – in order to avoid contaminating it.
  5. Place it in a clean plastic bag and try to seal the bag. Meteorites, especially some chondrites, are extremely sensitive to the alien atmosphere of Earth. They also are very sensitive to water and therefore humidity.
  6. Try to obtain a signature from the owner of the land to remove the specimen. Find out the name of the farm or land as meteorites are named after the location and NOT after you!
  7. Contact your local university Geosciences Department and arrange to hand it over for analysis. Let them contact SAHRA [The South African Heritage Resources Agency]. Come to a suitable arrangement with them. For example, if it is not a meteorite, you can take it away. The University will need to cut off bits and pieces for various analyses as well as cut a thin section for microscope study. Give them the details you collected above.
  8. If it does prove to be a meteorite, ask them to include your name on the research paper that gets written, and also ask them to inform you of the name given to the new find by the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society who record and name all the meteorites found on Earth. The Meteoritical Society will also mention your name as finder in published results.
  9. Note that meteorites may not be traded in South Africa this is, not bought or sold. The meteorites you find on sale at fleamarkets and commercial mineral outlets are not local, but the law does not explicitly exempt them from commercial activities.

 

Meteorite Classification:

 

Following is an extract from a meteorite classification table. For the complete table (including Sub-Types, Ages, Secondary Processes, and References) and more detail on the Groups, see the Downloads section below.

Major Groups Type Parent Body
Primitive [Solar Nebula] Carbonaceous Chondrites CI Ivuna OSS
CM Mighei 1 Ceres [Murchison matches 19 Fortuna]
CV Vigarano
CO Ornans
CK Karoonda
CR Renazzo 2 Pallas
CH High Metal ISS
CB Bencubbinites 2 Pallas
Ungrouped e.g Coolidge
Other Primitive Stones PAC [Primitive Achondrites] Acapulcoites
Lodranites
Brachinites
Winonaites
Ureilites
Ungrouped Primitive Achondrites
Major Groups Type Parent Body
Differentiated [Asteroidal or Planetary] Ordinary Chondrites H High Iron 6 Hebe
L Low Iron 433 Eros
LL Low Iron, Low Metal
Other Chondrites E Enstatite Chondrites
R Rumurutities
K Kakangariites
F Forsterite Chondrites
Achondrites HED Howardites 4 Vesta
Diogenites 4 Vesta
Eucrites (Main Series) 4 Vesta
Other Evolved Asteroidal Achondrites Angrites
Aubrites
Lunar Meteorites LUN A Anorthositic Regolith Breccias Earth Moon
Anorthositic Impact-Melt Breccias Earth Moon
Anorthositic Fragmental Breccias Earth Moon
LUN B Mare Basalts Earth Moon
LUN G Mare Gabbros Earth Moon
LUN N Norites Earth Moon
SNC Group Shergottites Basaltic Shergottites
Llerzolitic Shergottites
Transitional Members
Naklites
Chassignites
Orthopyroxenites
Stony Irons Pallasites Main Group
Eagle Station
Pyroxene
Ungrouped
Mesosiderites
Iron Meteorites Structural Hexahedrites
Octahedrites
Ataxites
Chemical Classification IAB
IC
IIAB
IIC
IID
IIE
IIF
IIG
IIIAB
IIICD
IIIE
IIIF
IVA
IVB
Ungrouped

Southern African Meteorite Database:

 

The Following is an extract from the meteorite database for South Africa. For the entire table for Southern Africa (including Classification,  Mass, Known Pieces, and References) see the Downloads section below.

 

Number Year Name Province Fall Find Iron Stony-Iron Stone
1 1888 Bechuanaland SB
2 1955 Bellsbank FS y y
3 1943 Benoni GT y y
4 1907 Bowden EC y y
5 <1910 Britstown NC y y
6 1964 Bull’s Run KZN y y
7 1932 Bushmanland NC y y
8 1793 Cape of Good Hope EC y y
9 1838 Cold Bokkeveld WC y y
10 1877 Cronstad FS y y
11 1868 Danielskuil NC y y
12 1959 De Hoek NC y y
13 1923 Deelfontein NC y y
14 1906 Diep Rivier WC y y
15 1970 Ellisras NP y
16 1882 Hex River Mountains WC y y
17 1956 Idutywa EC y y
18 1903 Jackalsfontein WC y y
19 1914 Karee Kloof EC y y
20 1884 Kokstad EC y y
21 <1914 Kopjes Vlei NC y y
22 1903 Kouga Mountains EC y y
23 1912 Leeuwfontein GT y y
24 1973 Lichtenburg NW y y
25 1936 Macibini KZN y y
26 1933 Malvern FS y y
27 1925 Maria Linden y y
28 1865 Matatiele EC y y
29 1977 Merweville WC y y
30 1953 Molteno EC y y
31 1921 Moshesh EC y y
32 1907 Mount Ayliff EC y y
33 1880 Muizenburg WC y y
34 1973 Natal y y
35 1912 Nkhandla KZN y y
36 1855 Orange River Iron FS y y
37 1887 Orange River Stone NC y y
38 1881 Piquetburg WC y y
39 1925 Queen’s Mercy EC y y
40 1909 Rateldraai NC y y
41 1903 St Marks EC y y
42 1910 Schaap-Kooi WC y y
43 1907 Simondium WC y y
44 1938 South African Railways y y
45 <1918 Vaalbult NC y y
46 1860 Victoria West WC y y
47 1881 Winburg FS y y
48 1918 Witklip MP y y
49 1880 Wittekrantz WC y y
50 1994 George WC y y
Kameeldrif y
Bloemfontein y
51 Morokweng NC y y

Downloads: