Meteoritics & Planetary Science is an international monthly journal of the Meteoritical Society—a scholarly organization promoting research and education in planetary science. Topics include the origin and history of the solar system, planets and natural satellites, interplanetary dust and interstellar medium, lunar samples, meteors and meteorites, asteroids, comets, craters, and tektites.

Meteoritics & Planetary Science was first published in 1935 under the title Contributions of the Society for Research on Meteorites. In 1947, the publication became known as Contributions of the Meteoritical Society and continued through 1951. From 1953 to 1995, the publication was known as Meteoritics, and in 1996, the journal's name was changed to Meteoritics & Planetary Science or MAPS. The journal was not published in 1952 and from 1957 to 1964.

This archive provides access to Meteoritics & Planetary Science Volumes 37-44 (2002-2009).

Visit Wiley Online Library for new and retrospective Meteoritics & Planetary Science content (1935-present).

ISSN: 1086-9379


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Recent Submissions

  • Chemical variation within fragments of Australasian tektites

    Son, T. H.; Koeberl, C. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    In previous studies, intersample variation between compositions of different tektites from one particular group were studied and, in a few cases, major element variations within single tektites. No data for intra-sample trace element variations existed. Thus, we sectioned a Muong Nong-type tektite fragment from Vietnam and a splash-form tektite fragment from the Philippines into eleven and six pieces, respectively, and analyzed the individual fragments for major and trace element contents.The compositions obtained agree well with those found in previous studies, supporting argument that tektites have been derived from terrestrial upper crustal sediments. Chemical variations within the tektite fragments are present, but do not show any systematic trends, probably reflecting incomplete mixing of parent rocks. The intra-sample heterogeneity of the Muong Nong-type tektite is more pronounced than that in the philippinite. For the Muong Nong-type tektite, the intra-sample variation in the trace element contents is higher than that for the major elements, again reflecting target rock properties. For the philippinite the intra-sample variations mostly do not exceed the limits imposed by the precision of the analytical data, confirming that the splash form tektites are indeed well homogenized.
  • David Wark: 1939-2005

    Liffman, K. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
  • Genesis—An artificial, low velocity "meteor" fall and recovery: September 8, 2004

    ReVelle, D. O.; Edwards, W.; Sandoval, T. D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    On September 8, 2004, Genesis, a manmade space capsule, plummeted to Earth after almost three years in space. A ground-based infrasound array was deployed to Wendover, Nevada, to measure the "hypersonic boom" from the reentry, since the expected initial reentry speed of the body was about 11 km/sec. Due to the complete failure of its dual parachute system, we had a unique opportunity to assess the degree of reliability of our previously developed relations for natural meteors and bolides to analyze this well-characterized manmade body. At ~20-50 km from the nominal trajectory, we succeeded in recording over two minutes of infrasonic signals from Genesis. Here we report on subsequent analyses of these infrasonic data, including an assessment of the expected entry characteristics on the basis of a bolide/meteor/fireball entry model specifically adapted to modeling reentering manmade objects. From these simulations, we were able to evaluate the line source blast wave relaxation radius, the differential acoustic efficiency, etc., to compute an approximate total power balance during entry. Next, we analyzed the detailed signals arriving from Genesis using a numerical, signal detection and wave processing software package (Matseis/ Infra_Tool). We established the initial and subsequent arrivals and evaluated its plane wave back azimuths and elevation arrival angles and the degree of maximum, pair-wise cross-correlation, its power spectrum, spectrogram analysis, standard seismic f-k analysis, etc. From the associated entryparameters, we computed the kinetic energy density conservation properties for the propagating line source blast waves and compared these predictions against observed ground-based infrasound amplitude and wave period data as a function of range. We discovered that previously computed differential acoustic efficiencies were unreliable at Mach numbers below about 10. This is because we had assumed that a line source explosion was applicable, whereas at very low Mach numbers, typical of recovered meteorites, the detailed source characteristics are closer to those of supersonic objects. When corrections for these unphysical, very high efficiencies were made, agreement between theory and observations improved. We also made an assessment for the energy of the blast wave source from the ground-based infrasound data using several other techniques that were also adapted from previous bolide studies. Finally, we made a top-downbottom-up assessment of the line source wave normals propagating via refraction downward into the complex middle atmospheric environment. This assessment proved to be generally consistent with the digital signal processing analysis and with the observed time delay between the known Genesis reentry and the infrasonic observations.
  • Small Antarctic micrometeorites: A mineralogical and in situ oxygen isotope study

    Gounelle, M.; Engrand, C.; Maurette, M.; Kurat, G.; McKeegan, K. D.; Brandstätter, F. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    We have investigated the texture, bulk chemistry, mineralogy, as well as the anhydrous minerals oxygen isotopic composition of 67 small Antarctic micrometeorites (AMMs) collected at Cap Prudhomme, Antarctica, and belonging to the currently poorly studied size fraction 25-50 micrometers. When compared to larger (50-400 micrometers) micrometeorites collected at the same site in Antarctica with the same techniques, no significant differences are found between the two populations. We therefore conclude that the population of Cap Prudhomme AMMs is homogeneous over the size range 25-400 micrometers. In contrast, small AMMs have different textures, mineralogy, and oxygen isotopic compositions than those of stratospheric interplanetary dust particles (IDPs). Because small AMMs (<50 micrometers) overlap in size with IDPs, the differences between these two important sources of micrometeorites can no longer be attributed to a variation of the micrometeorite composition with size. Physical biases introduced by the collection procedures might account for these differences.
  • The new polymict eucrite Dar al Gani 983: Petrography, chemical composition, noble gas record, and evolution

    Patzer, A.; Schlüter, J.; Schultz, L.; Hill, D. H.; Boynton, W. V. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    Mineralogical and chemical studies of Dar al Gani 983 show that this meteorite is a eucrite. Its texture is that of an impact breccia. It contains cumulate pyroxene and feldspar megacrysts, a variety of recrystallized melt clasts, clasts of subophitic basalt, and mesostasis. These components are embedded in a matrix of fragmental pyroxene and plagioclase. In addition, the entire rock is penetrated by glassy melt veins and patches, and displays features of strong shock. The mineralogical and chemical evidence obtained for DaG 983 indicates that this meteorite experienced a complex evolutionary history. The presence of cumulate silicate crystals implies substantial, large scale cratering events on the HED asteroid. As a result of these impacts, rocks from different intrusive bodies to extrusive surface layers were laterally and vertically transported to form a thoroughly mixed megaregolith. DaG 983 represents a sample of this megabreccia.
  • Nitrogen and noble gases in micrometeorites

    Marty, B.; Robert, P.; Zimmermann, L. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    Micrometeorites (MMs) currently represent the largest steady-state mass flux of extraterrestrial matter to Earth and may have delivered a significant fraction of volatile elements and organics to the Earths surface. Nitrogen and noble gases contents and isotopic ratios have been measured in a suite of 17 micrometeorites recovered in Antarctica (sampled in blue ice at Cap Prudhomme) and Greenland (separated from cryoconite) that have experienced variable thermal metamorphism during atmospheric entry. MMs were pyrolized using a CO2 laser and the released gases were analyzed for nitrogen and noble gas abundances and isotopic ratios by static mass spectrometry after specific purification. Noble gases are a mixture of cosmogenic, solar, atmospheric, and possibly chondritic components, with atmospheric being predominant in severely heated MMs. delta-15N values vary between -240 +/- 62 ppm and +206 +/- 12 ppm, with most values being within the range of terrestrial and chondritic signatures, given the uncertainties. Crystalline MMs present very high noble gas contents up to two orders of magnitude higher than carbonaceous chondrite concentrations. In contrast, nitrogen contents between 4 ppm and 165 ppm are much lower than those of carbonaceous chondrites, evidencing either initially low N content in MMs and/or degradation of phases hosting nitrogen during atmospheric entry heating and terrestrial weathering. Assuming that the original N content of MMs was comparable to that of carbonaceous chondrites, the contribution of nitrogen delivery by these objects to the terrestrial environment would have been probably marginal from 3.8 Gyr ago to present but could have been significant (~10%) in the Hadean, and even predominant during the latest stages of terrestrial accretion.
  • Thermal history of the enstatite chondrites from silica polymorphs

    Kimura, M.; Weisberg, M. K.; Lin, Y.; Suzuki, A.; Ohtani, E.; Okazaki, R. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    Here we report the results of our petrologic and mineralogical study of enstatite (E) chondrites in order to explore their thermal histories. We studied silica phases in 20 E chondrites by laser micro Raman spectroscopy to determine the silica polymorphs they contain. Silica phases are commonly present in E chondrites and their polymorphs reflect the physical conditions of formation. The samples studied here include EH3-5, EL3-6, E chondrite melt rocks, and an anomalous E chondrite. We identified quartz, tridymite, cristobalite, and silica glass in the samples studied. EH4 5 and EH melt rocks are divided into high and low temperature classes based on niningeritealabandite solid solutions. EH3, EL3, and some EH melt rocks of the high temperature class contain tridymite and cristobalite. We suggest that tridymite and cristobalite crystallized in chondrules and E chondrite melts, followed by rapid cooling, leading to the survival of these silica polymorphs. EH4 and EL4 chondrites also contain tridymite and cristobalite in their chondrules, indicating that these silica polymorphs survived low temperature metamorphism (as estimated from opaque mineral geothermometers) because of the sluggishness of the transition to a more stable polymorph. Tridymite and cristobalite in EL6 chondrites reflect the high temperature processes experienced by these meteorites. On the other hand, some EH5 chondrites and EH melt rocks of the low temperature class contain quartz, which may be a product of the transition from tridymite or cristobalite during a long period of low temperature metamorphism. Although the thermal history of E chondrites have been previously estimated from opaque minerals, such compositions mainly reflect low temperature processes. However, we can reconstruct the primordial thermal processes and subsequent cooling histories of E chondrites from their silica polymorphs. The E chondrites have complicated thermal histories, which produced the observed variations among them.
  • Earth Impact Effects Program: A Web-based computer program for calculating the regional environmental consequences of a meteoroid impact on Earth

    Collins, G. S.; Melosh, H. J.; Marcus, R. A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    We have developed a Web-based program for quickly estimating the regional environmental consequences of a comet or asteroid impact on Earth(www.lpl.arizona.edu/ impacteffects). This paper details the observations, assumptions and equations upon which the program is based. It describes our approach to quantifying the principal impact processes that might affect the people, buildings, and landscape in the vicinity of an impact event and discusses the uncertainty in our predictions. The program requires six inputs: impactor diameter, impactor density, impact velocity before atmospheric entry, impact angle, the distance from the impact at which the environmental effects are to be calculated, and the target type (sedimentary rock, crystalline rock, or a water layer above rock). The program includes novel algorithms for estimating the fate of the impactor during atmospheric traverse, the thermal radiation emitted by the impact-generated vapor plume (fireball), and the intensity of seismic shaking. The program also approximates various dimensions of the impact crater and ejecta deposit, as well as estimating the severity of the air blast in both crater-forming and airburst impacts. We illustrate the utility of our program by examining the predicted environmental consequences across the United States of hypothetical impact scenarios occurring in Los Angeles. We find that the most wide-reaching environmental consequence is seismic shaking: both ejecta deposit thickness and air-blast pressure decay much more rapidly with distance than with seismic ground motion. Close to the impact site the most devastating effect is from thermal radiation; however, the curvature of the Earth implies that distant localities are shielded from direct thermal radiation because the fireball is below the horizon.
  • Argon isotopic analysis of breccia veins from the Roter Kamm crater, Namibia, and implications for their thermal history

    Rajmon, D.; Copeland, P.; Reid, A. M. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    The rocks exposed in the rim of the 2.5-km-wide and 3.7-Ma-old Roter Kamm crater in southwest Namibia are cut by breccia veins that macroscopically resemble, and were originally described as, pseudotachylytes. The veins were later shown to be cataclasites with no evidence for melting. 40Ar/39Ar data for vein and host rock samples indicate a low-grade metamorphic event at around 300 Ma, but provide no evidence for an impact age. The samples have suffered 5-7% Ar loss, which we associate with the impact event. All the samples record similar ranges of possible timetemperature conditions and there are no resolvable differences between the results for the vein and the host rock samples, as would be expected if frictional heating played an important role in breccia formation. Modeling the 40Ar/39Ar data, assuming instantaneous impact heating followed by extended cooling, and coupling these results to published data on fluid inclusions, quartz precipitation, shock effects, and crater degradation, suggest that the veins reached maximum temperatures of 230-290 degrees C during impact and never approached melting temperatures of the precursor rocks.
  • The Villalbeto de la Peña meteorite fall: I. Fireball energy, meteorite recovery, strewn field, and petrography

    Llorca, J.; Trigo-Rodríguez, J. M.; Ortiz, J. L.; Docobo, J. A.; García-Guinea, J.; Castro-Tirado, A. J.; Rubin, A. E.; Eugster, O.; Edwards, W.; Laubenstein, M.; et al. (The Meteoritical Society, 2005-01-01)
    An impressive daylight fireball was observed from Spain, Portugal, and the south of France at 16h46m45s UTC on January 4, 2004. The meteoroid penetrated into the atmosphere, generating shock waves that reached the ground and produced audible booms. The associated airwave was recorded at a seismic station located 90 km north of the fireball trajectory in Spain, and at an infrasound station in France located 750 km north-east of the fireball. The absolute magnitude of the bolide has been determined to be -18 +/- 1 from a casual video record. The energy released in the atmosphere determined from photometric, seismic, and infrasound data was about 0.02 kilotons (kt). A massive fragmentation occurred at a height of 28 +/- 0.2 km, resulting in a meteorite strewn field of 20 x 6 km. The first meteorite specimen was found on January 11, 2004, near the village of Villalbeto de la Peña, in northern Palencia (Spain). To date, about 4.6 kg of meteorite mass have been recovered during several recovery campaigns. The meteorite is a moderately shocked (S4) L6 ordinary chondrite with a cosmic-ray-exposure age of 48 +/- 5 Ma. Radioisotope analysis shows that the original body had a mass of 760 +/- 150 kg, which is in agreement with the estimated mass obtained from photometric and seismic measurements.