| 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
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.
|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
received September, 2006. Values are oxide percents.
The person who sent me the photo, a gentleman from Sweden, has
sent me more than 1300 e-mail messages since February of 2004.
has been accompanied by numerous photographs of rocks that he
claims to be lunar (or sometimes martian) meteorites. I've
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
He has, however, had some samples analyzed by energy dispersive
X-ray spectroscopy and has sent me the results, which I've
in the table above.
EDS is an inexpensive, but non-ideal method
for analyzing rocks. It provides only an incomplete, semiquantitative
Because no results are reported for Na2O and MgO, I presume their
absence in the reports (example below for sample 2) means that
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
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
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.
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 !!!
I dont't see any
hint of "industrial" metals in this sample
= by Randy Korotev.
Best Wishes ///
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
Lindfors contacted me about his alleged lunar meteorites...
He wanted me to authenticate them, but I told him that I am
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
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
"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
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
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
SiO2 n.a., but
I suspect very high
FeO 0.6% = 0.7 Fe2O3 = much too low for any meteorite
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
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.