Some Photos of Antarctic Meteorites

 

Here is a small collection of photos of Antarctic meteorites, some I took in the field and some are official NASA photos from the curatorial laboratory of the astromaterials curation facility at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Most of the meteorites were collected during the 1988-89 ANSMET field season to Lewis Cliff and the MacAlpine Hills. Note that both the field and lab photos were scanned from old slides, the original lighting was intense blue (field) or artificial (lab), and the slides have probably faded. Another problem is that the meteorites are dark and the background is light, so most of the meteorites were underexposed in the original image. I've done some color readjustment to increase the gamma and increase the red, magenta, and yellow. Bottom line: the exposure and colors on these images are truer than on the original slides, but they aren't perfect.

Searching for meteorites at Lewis Cliff. Most of the rocks in this photo are just that - rocks. We estimated that 1 in 500 to 1000 of the rocks were meteorites. That's much better odds than most other places on Earth.

 

Most meteorites found in the Lewis Cliff area in 1988-89 were small. Previous field parties had collected the big ones. This one is 2-3 cm in longest dimension. Note the smoothness and shiny fusion crust. Unfortunately, for these small meteorites, I don't know to what class they belong or the LEW88xxx number.

Click on the image for enlargement or click here for an enlargement of the meteorite only.

 

Broken fragments of meteorites are common. The meteorites break apart in the atmosphere during entry, when they hit the ice, or while they are being transported in the ice.

Click on the image for enlargement or click here for an enlargement of the meteorite only.

 

The shiny surface of this meteorite fragment results from weathering, it is not a fusion crust.

Click on the image for enlargement.

 

Left: meteorwrong, right: meteorite. About 1 in 500-1000 rocks on the Lewis Cliff ice tongue were meteorites, the rest were rocks from the cliff.

Click on the image for an enlargement.

 

The meteorite above and the fragment of the previous photo were part of a large field of several dozen meteorites that were all within an area the size of a basketball court. All were fragments of a single fall. In this photo, flags mark the location of 10 of the fragments. Lewis Cliff is in the background.

Click on the image for an enlargement

 

Another broken and weathered face of a small meteorite.

Click on image for enlargement or click here for a large enlargement.

 

This is a typical, unbroken, small meteorite. Except for a few small chips, the fusion crust is intact, at least on the top side.

Click on the image for enlargement. Note the fine debris in the nearby ice. This is probably material ablated off the meteorite. The rate of ice ablation is 2-6 inches a year.

 

Perhaps an equilibrated ordinary chondrite with missing fusion crust.

Click on image for enlargement.

 

Lewis Cliff 88005, a brecciated eucrite, in the field.

Click on image for enlargement. Click here for an even larger enlargement

 

Sawn face of Lewis Cliff 88005, a 254-g brecciated eucrite, in the lab.

Click on image for enlargement.

NASA photo S90-44260

 

Lewis Cliff 88023 is an 8-g iron meteorite (ungrouped). Iron meteorites are rare in the Antarctic collection.

Click on image for enlargement.

NASA photo S?

 

Lewis Cliff 88516 (13 g) is a shergottite - a meteorite from Mars. This meteorite is a good example of why it's important to collect the small ones, even when they aren't very pretty in the field.

Click on image for enlargement.

NASA photo S91-37060

MacAlpine Hills (MAC) 88176 (38 g) and 88101 (21 g) in the lab. Both are C2 carbonaceous chondrites.

Click on image for enlargement. Click here for an even larger enlargement.

NASA photo S89-48338

 

Lewis Cliff:

mass (g)

type

88120

32

H5

88121

15 

H3.4

88122

8

H5

88123

4

L6

88124

4

LL6

88125

23

L6

88126

4

H5

88127

9

H5

88128

3

H6

88129

18

H6

Click on image for enlargement (117 kb).

NASA photo S90-31344

Lewis Cliff:

mass (g)

type

200

56

H5

201

46

ureilite

202

36

H5

203

31

H5

204

21

L5

205

44

H5

206

34

H5

207

21

H5

208

30

L5

209

18

H5

Click on image for enlargement

NASA photo S90-37027

 

Lewis Cliff:

mass (g)

type

760

3

H6

761

4

L6

762

19

H5

763

4

Brachinite

764

9

H5

765

4

H5

766

8

L6

767

16

H5

768

12

H6

769

5

L6

Click on image for enlargement.

The last LEW 88 meteorite is LEW 88799. There were 799 meteorites found at Lewis Cliff and 104 >1-g meteorites at the MacAlpine Hills in 1988-89.

NASA photo S91-37062

 

Lewis Cliff 90500, from the 1990-91 season, is a 295-g carbonaceous (C2) chondrite. Note that most of the fusion crust has been worn off.

Click on image for enlargement. Click here for an even larger enlargement.

NASA photo S91-39559 - Thanks to Robbie Score for selecting and providing the NASA photos.


Back to Some Meteorite Information

 


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
.


e-mailkorotev@wustl.edu

Last revised: 11 October 2018