Why this rock is probably not a meteorite:

1) It's too angular. There appears to be some glass, but it doesn't appear to be a fusion crust. Fusion crusts develop over flat, smooth surfaces.

2) The rock's texture resembles that of a lunar regolith breccia, particularly ALHA 81005. In detail, however, there are too many big clasts (white) and not enough small clasts. The rock particles in the lunar regolith are unsorted - there is a complete range of sizes from big to small. There are only a few small clasts in the dark matrix of this rock. In the lingo of sedimentary petrology, the grain size distribution of the clasts in this rock is not that of the lunar regolith.

June, 2004
What is it?

Can't tell from photo. There are several geologic processes on Earth that can lead to rocks that resemble lunar breccias.
Addendum - October, 2006

Results of "standardless" EDS (energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy)
received September, 2006.  Values are oxide percents.

Al2O3 SiO2 SO3 K2O CaO MnO FeO sum
4.18 57.4 2.29 1.72 26.70 5.38 2.33 100.00
4.51 60.7 1.13 1.66 25.36 4.61 2.04 100.00
0.07 97.7 0.30 0.45 0.48 0.33 0.66 100.00

The person who sent me the photo, a gentleman from Sweden, has sent me more than 1300 e-mail messages since February of 2004. Each one has been accompanied by numerous photographs of rocks that he claims to be lunar (or sometimes martian) meteorites. I've urged him to send me a sample for analysis. Twice he has said that he would do so, but I have not yet received a sample that I can examine or analyze. He has, however, had some samples analyzed by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and has sent me the results, which I've reproduced in the table above.

EDS is an inexpensive, but non-ideal method for analyzing rocks. It provides only an incomplete, semiquantitative (not exact) analysis. Because no results are reported for Na2O and MgO, I presume their absence in the reports (example below for sample 2) means that their concentrations were not determined because, as "light" elements, no X-ray signal was obtained. The sum of the elements that were determined have been normalized to 100% (see report below). We can reasonably assume that the concentrations of Na2O and MgO are each a few percent.

The compositions of the analyzed samples are inconsistent with any kind meteorite. Concentrations of SiO2, SO3, K2O, CaO, and MnO, are much too high for any kind of meteorite. Sample 3, presumably one of the white clasts, is clearly a piece of quartz, which does not occur in meteorites.

For samples 1 and 2, FeO is low, as in some lunar meteorites, but CaO/Al2O3 (~6) is much too high and FeO/MnO (0.4) is much too low for any Moon rock.

Bottom line: These rocks are not meteorites. They are terrestrial rocks or slags. If the MnO (manganese) concentrations are really as high as ~5% and the FeO (iron) concentrations are really as low as ~2%, then it is likely that they are man made - the byproduct of some industrial process.


Addendum - June, 2009

The "gentleman from Sweden" that I mention above, Mr. Göran Lindfors, has recently sent the following e-mail message to me and several people that I know.

From: Göran Lindfors <mars@tele2.se>
To: [several, including me]
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 13:40:43 +0200
Subject: Randy Korotev, Lunar meteorites analyze !!!

Here are the new important Lunar meteorites chemical analyze results done by Randy Korotev at Washington University in St.Louis ( Augusti 2008 ). Please notice that Randy Korotev choosed not put this new analyze on his website, since it was showing to be of perfect Lunar origin !!!

FeO, Fe2O3

I dont't see any hint of "industrial" metals in this sample = by Randy Korotev.


Best Wishes /// Göran Lindfors

Because the message is inaccurate and misleading, I explain the facts as I know them here. Also, I name Mr. Lindfors here because I believe that I have a right to do so now, considering that he mentions my name in his e-mail messages.

At this writing, I have received more than 3600 e-mail messages from Mr. Lindfors since 2004. In recent years, each message has had an average of 20 JPG images attached, most of rocks that look like the one in the photograph above.

Mr. Lindfors has never sent me a sample of his alleged lunar meteorites. He has never sent me anything other than e-mail.

In January, 2008, a fellow I did not know e-mailed me with this information.

"Göran Lindfors contacted me about his alleged lunar meteorites... He wanted me to authenticate them, but I told him that I am not qualified to do so... [H]e sent me a 1 gram sample from a larger stone. I told him that I would like to send it to you."

I have not contacted my correspondent about the statement I am writing here, so I am not identifying him. I'll call him Prof. GLM. He's a retired professor and well known statistician and philosopher. Prof. GLM asked me if I would chemically analyze the sample if he sent it to me. I was happy to do so.

On February 19, 2008, I received a small package in the mail from Prof. GLM. It contained only 2 small photographs of a rock, but no actual rock samples. I informed Prof. GLM. He replied:

"I never opened up the package I sent to you. Why would he send a picture? He told me that he was sending a square thin piece - and that is what it looked like. I also asked him to send me a small piece for my collection in case it turned out that the sample was lunar. He sent me a small tiny-pebble sized rock as well, and I assumed that it was the piece I requested."

Prof. GLM sent me some of the small rock, crumbs totaling about 50 milligrams. I split the sample in two and analyzed the two subsamples by INAA (instrumental neutron activation analysis) in my lab in May and June of 2008. I sent Prof. GLM the message below on June 30, 2008, with the results of the analysis.

Dear [Prof. GLM]:

We've got the analysis of the material Mr. Lindfors sent to you. It's certainly not any kind of meteorite. Unfortunately, our technique is mainly a trace-element technique. We'd prefer a complete major-element analysis for figuring out what this stuff really is, but I can tell from our composition and just looking at the sample that it's rich in quartz, a mineral that does not occur on the Moon in anything but trace abundance.

SiO2  n.a., but I suspect very high
Al2O3 n.a.
TiO2  n.a.
FeO   0.6% = 0.7 Fe2O3 = much too low for any meteorite
MgO   n.a.
CaO   <0.3% too low for a stony meteorite
Na2O  0.1% too low for a lunar meteorite
K2O   0.7 too high, considering the low Na


Cr   40 ppm very low
Co    3 ppm low
Ni   28 ppm low
Au   <4 ppb low for most lunar meteorites
Ir   <3 ppb low for most lunar meteorites

Together, these concentrations exclude any meteorite. Cr is high in all kinds of meteorites


Finally, I don't know if you're a student of the rare earth elements, but here's a comparison of the "REE pattern" of typical continental crust, typical lunar crust (average of several feldspathic lunar meteorites), and Lindfors' sample. On this plot an ordinary chondrite would be a horizontal line at 1.


The Lindfors sample has a terrestrial REE pattern, not chondritic and not lunar. So I suspect the sample is mostly Ca-poor sediment of some kind "diluted" with quartz, compared (for example) to a shale. I don't see any hint of "industrial" metals in this sample.


Prof. GLM asked if he could forward my message to Mr. Lindfors, and I encouraged him to do so. Unfortunately, in my report to Prof. GLM, I used some geochemical jargon: "n.a." means "not analyzed." It's clear from Mr. Lindfors' message above that he received my e-mail.

Mr. Lindfors is correct in that I did not put the results of the analysis on my website. I can't understand why he would want me to do so. Until now, I have made no mention of the analytical results nor my interpretation of them on any of my websites. The issue to me was that it was not fair to Mr. Lindfors for me to say "these are not Moon rocks" on the basis of the sample that I analyzed. First, there was the "chain of evidence" issue. I did not receive the sample directly from Mr. Lindfors. I did not actually know the person who sent the sample to me. Maybe the sample really wasn't from Mr. Lindfors' rocks. Second, I did not have Mr. Lindfors' permission to publicly post the data. I now take his e-mail message above as an invitation to do so.


This figure compares CaO and FeO concentrations in lunar meteorites (blue squares) with analyses of samples of Göran Lindfors. The three "2006" points are from the analysis that Mr. Lindfors sent me in 2006. The two "2008" points represent the two analyses I did of the sample sent to me by Prof. GLM. Quartz has essentially zero CaO and FeO, which accounts for the three points near the origin of the plot. I suspect that the two high-CaO samples contain calcite (limestone?). Many Earth rocks are rich in quartz and calcite. Lunar rocks are not. They are composed of the minerals plagioclase feldspar (high CaO, low FeO), pyroxene (moderate CaO, high FeO), olivine, and ilmenite (both low CaO, high FeO). Thus, lunar rocks plot along a trend between plagioclase-rich rock (anorthosite) and pyroxene-rich rocks (basalt).
Mr. Lindfors' rocks are not from the Moon.




Prepared by:

Randy L. Korotev

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis

Please don't contact me about the meteorite you think you’ve found until you read this and this.