Rare meteorites from London's Natural History Museum

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Murchison meteorite // Credit: David J. Eicher
On Astronomy’s August tour of London, some 25 readers and I had the great pleasure of seeing many important astronomical sites in England.

What a great treat it was while I was in England to visit Caroline Smith, collections manager of the Earth Sciences Department, Mineral and Planetary Sciences Division, of London’s famous Natural History Museum. Caroline graciously spent time showing treasures of the meteorite collection, and we shot several videos showing a number of representative samples, the fourth one of which I share here.

In it, Caroline describes specimens of the Murchison meteorite, a stone that fell in Australia in 1969 that contains amino acids. She also shows a piece of the Allende meteorite, which came down in 1969 in Mexico. It contains terrific calcium-aluminum inclusions, some of the oldest material in the solar system.

She also shows a piece of the Stannern meteorite, a euchrite that fell in 1808 in what is now the Czech Republic. It is a piece of the asteroid 4 Vesta. And finally, Caroline shows a small fragment of the Nakhla meteorite, a rare and old martian meteorite, which fell in Egypt in 1911. Enjoy!

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