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

  • Harvey Nininger's 1948 attempt to nationalize Meteor Crater

    Plotkin, H.; Clarke, R. S. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    Harvey Nininger successfully petitioned the American Astronomical Society to pass a motion in support of nationalizing Meteor Crater, Arizona, at its June 1948 meeting. He alleged that the Barringer family, who held title to the crater, was depriving American citizens of its scenic beauty and scientific value. He then reportedly went on to make the unauthorized--and false--claim that the family would be receptive to a fair purchase offer for the crater. The Barringers, who had not been given advance warning of the petition and were not present at the meeting, felt ambushed. They quickly and forcefully rebutted Niningers allegations, made it clear they had no intention of relinquishing their title to the crater, and terminated his exploration rights. What led Nininger to such a curious and self-defeating act? Based on our reading of his voluminous personal correspondence, we conclude that it was rooted primarily in his complex relationship with Frederick Leonard and Lincoln LaPaz, and his desire to establish a national institute for meteoritical research--with them, originally, but after a serious falling out, on his own. Prevented from moving his American Meteorite Museum to the crater rim, Nininger wondered what would happen if the crater was nationalized and made into a public park, with an accompanying tourist center and museum. With characteristic lan, he could picture himself at its head, with a secure salary and adequate space to exhibit his meteorite collection.
  • Oxygen fugacity in the Martian mantle controlled by carbon: New constraints from the nakhlite MIL 03346

    Righter, K.; Yang, H.; Costin, G.; Downs, R. T. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    Pyroxene structural data, along with analyses of titanomagnetite, fayalite and mesostasis of the new nakhlite Miller Range (MIL) 03346, define equilibration near 1 bar, 1100 degrees degrees C, and oxygen fugacity near the FMQ buffer. There is a clear progression of oxygen fugacity (fO2) in Martian meteorites from reduced Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 to intermediate shergottites to oxidized nakhlites. This trend can be explained by polybaric graphite-CO-CO2 equilibria in the Martian mantle. Shergottites would have formed at pressures between 1.2 and 3.0 GPa, and nakhlite parent liquids formed at pressures >3.0 GPa, consistent with geochemical and petrologic data for the shergottites and nahklites. Carbon buffering in the Martian mantle could be responsible for variation in fO2 in Martian meteorites (rather than assimilation or crustal interaction), as well as C-H-O fluids that could be the source of ~30 ppb CH4 detected by recent spacecraft missions. The conundrum of an oxidized current mantle and basalts, but reduced early mantle during core-mantle equilibrium exists for both the Earth and Mars. A polybaric buffering role for graphite can explain this discrepancy for Mars, and thus it may not be necessary to have an oxidation mechanism like the dissociation of MgFe-perovskite to account for the oxidized terrestrial mantle.
  • Shape, metal abundance, chemistry, and origin of chondrules in the Renazzo (CR) chondrite

    Ebel, D. S.; Weisberg, M. K.; Hertz, J.; Campbell, A. J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    We used synchrotron X-ray microtomography to image in 3-dimensions (3D) eight whole chondrules in a ~1 cm^3 piece of the Renazzo (CR) chondrite at ~17 micrometers per volume element (voxel) edge. We report the first volumetric (3D) measurement of metal/silicate ratios in chondrules and quantify indices of chondrule sphericity. Volumetric metal abundances in whole chondrules range from 1 to 37 volume % in 8 measured chondrules and by inspection in tomography data. We show that metal abundances and metal grain locations in individual chondrules cannot be reliably obtained from single random 2D sections. Samples were physically cut to intersect representative chondrules multiple times and to verify 3D data. Detailed 2D chemical analysis combined with 3D data yield highly variable whole-chondrule Mg/Si ratios with a supra-chondritic mean value, yet the chemically diverse, independently formed chondrules are mutually complementary in preserving chondritic (solar) Fe/Si ratios in the aggregate CR chondrite. These results are consistent with localized chondrule formation and rapid accretion resulting in chondrule + matrix aggregates (meteorite parent bodies) that preserve the bulk chondritic composition of source regions.
  • The complex exposure history of the Jiddat al Harasis 073 L-chondrite shower

    Huber, L.; Gnos, E.; Hofmann, B.; Welten, K. C.; Nishiizumi, K.; Caffee, M.W.; Hillegonds, D. J.; Leya, I. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    We measured the concentrations and isotopic compositions of He, Ne, and Ar in 29 bulk samples from 11 different strewn field fragments of the large Jiddat al Harasis (JaH) 073 L6 chondrite shower, including 7 samples from known locations within the main mass. In addition, we measured the concentrations of cosmogenic 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl, and 41Ca in 10 samples. All fragments of this shower are characterized by low 10Be concentrations (7.6-12.8 dpm/kg), high 26Al/10Be ratios (3.55), large contributions of neutron capture 41Ca (200-1800 dpm/kgCa), low 3He/21Ne ratios (1.5-3.0), large variations in cosmogenic 21Ne (1.2-12) x 10^(-8) cm^3 STP/g, and significant contributions of neutron-capture 36Ar. Stepwise heating experiments show that neutron-capture produced 36Ar is predominantly released between 1000-1200 degrees C. All these results are consistent with a first-stage exposure of ~65 Ma within ~20 cm of the surface of the L-chondrite parent body, followed by ejection of a 1.52 m large object, which was then delivered to Earth within about 0.5 and 0.7 Ma. The cosmogenic nuclide data in JaH 073 thus corroborate the trend that many of the large chondrites studied so far experienced a complex exposure history. The observed 3He/21Ne ratios of 2.53.0 in the most shielded samples (including those of the main mass) are lower than predicted by model calculations, but similar to the lowest values found in the large Gold Basin L-chondrite shower. The Bern plot, which gives a linear correlation for 3He/21Ne versus 22Ne/21Ne, is evidently not valid for very high shielding. Some of our measured 22Ne/21Ne ratios in JaH 073 are lower than 1.06, which is not well understood, but might be explained by loss of cosmogenic neon from shocked sodium-rich plagioclase during terrestrial weathering. The amount of trapped atmospheric argon in the JaH 073 fragments varies by almost two orders of magnitude and shows only a weak correlation with the size of the fragments, which range from <100 g to >50 kg. Finally, low concentrations of radiogenic 4He and 40Ar indicate incomplete degassing <1 Ga ago, probably at the main collision event on the L-chondrite parent body ~480 Ma ago.
  • Differentiation and emplacement of the Worthington Offset Dike of the Sudbury impact structure, Ontario

    Hecht, L.; Wittek, A.; Riller, U.; Mohr, T.; Schmitt, R. T.; Grieve, R. A. F. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    The Offset Dikes of the 1.85 Ga Sudbury Igneous Complex (SIC) constitute a key topic in understanding the chemical evolution of the impact melt, its mineralization, and the interplay between melt migration and impact-induced deformation. The origin of the melt rocks in Offset Dikes as well as mode and timing of their emplacement are still a matter of debate. Like many other offset dikes, the Worthington is composed of an early emplaced texturally rather homogeneous quartz-diorite (QD) phase at the dike margin, and an inclusion- and sulfide-rich quartz-diorite (IQD) phase emplaced later and mostly in the centre of the dike. The chemical heterogeneity within and between QD and IQD is mainly attributed to variable assimilation of host rocks at the base of the SIC, prior to emplacement of the melt into the dike. Petrological data suggest that the parental magma of the Worthington Dike mainly developed during the pre-liquidus temperature interval of the thermal evolution of the impact melt sheet (>1200 degrees C). Based on thermal models of the cooling history of the SIC, the two-stage emplacement of the Worthington Dike occurred likely thousands to about ten thousand years after impact. Structural analysis indicates that an alignment of minerals and host rock fragments within the Worthington Dike was caused by ductile deformation under greenschist-facies metamorphic conditions rather than flow during melt emplacement. It is concluded that the Worthington Offset Dike resulted from crater floor fracturing, possibly driven by late-stage isostatic readjustment of crust underlying the impact structure.
  • The first large meteorite impact structure discovered in the Middle East: Jebel Waqf as Suwwan, Jordan

    Salameh, E.; Khoury, H.; Reimold, W. U.; Schneider, W. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    Triggered by re-evaluation of a 1960s report on the regional geology of the northeastern border region of Jordan and following Landsat satellite image investigation, a 5.5 km diameter, complex, circular structure was discovered in the central eastern region of the Kingdom of Jordan. Initial ground truthing revealed complex geological structures involving Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene strata, and including a prominent outer rim rising up to 60 m above the surrounding plain, an intermediate ring of up to 20 m elevation within a ring syncline, and a central zone of stratigraphically uplifted sedimentary strata characterized by intense macroscopic (folding and faulting, widespread cataclasis) and locally mesoscopic (cataclasis) deformation. Ten sites with shatter cone development in fine-grained sandstone or limestone have been mapped to date, mostly in the outer parts of the central uplifted area. This finding confirms that the Jebel Waqf as Suwwan structure was formed as the result of the impact of an extraterrestrial projectile. Search for impactdiagnostic micro-deformation has been rather unsuccessful: only 1 quartz grain with both planar deformation features and planar fractures has been detected in a sandstone sample to date. The overall majority of the approximately 70 samples investigated by micropetrographic analysis consist of extremely fine-grained chert, siltstone, or marly limestone. Cataclasis is widespread in chert and limestone, also on the micro-scale. Considering the severely limited amount of characteristic impact microdeformation, and the stratigraphic situation within the central uplift, it is likely that a relatively deep level of the central uplift is currently exposed. The extensive drainage demonstrated for this region supports the conclusion that this impact structure could be quite deeply erodedespecially as its geology involves some relatively soft lithologies (marls, limestones). The age of this impact event is at present poorly constrained at post-Middle to Lower Eocene.
  • Potassium isotope abundances in Australasian tektites and microtektites

    Herzog, G. F.; Alexander, C. M. O'D.; Berger, E. L.; Delaney, J. S.; Glass, B. P. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    We report electron microprobe determinations of the elemental compositions of 11 Australasian layered tektites and 28 Australasian microtektites; and ion microprobe determinations of the 41K/39K ratios of all 11 tektites and 13 of the microtektites. The elemental compositions agree well with literature values, although the average potassium concentrations measured here for microtektites, 1.1-1.6 wt%, are lower than published average values, 1.9-2.9 wt%. The potassium isotope abundances of the Australasian layered tektites vary little. The average value of delta-41K, 0.02 +/- 0.12 per mil (1-sigma mean), is indistinguishable from the terrestrial value (= 0 by definition) as represented by our standard, thereby confirming four earlier tektite analyses of Humayun and Koeberl (2004). In agreement with those authors, we conclude that evaporation has significantly altered neither the isotopic nor the elemental composition of Australasian layered tektites for elements less volatile than potassium. Although the average 41K/39K ratio of the microtektites, 1.1 +/- 1.7 per mil (1-sigma mean), is also statistically indistinguishable from the value for the standard, the individual ratios vary over a very large range, from -10.6 +/- 1.4 per mil to +13.8 +/- 1.5 per mil and at least three of them are significantly different from zero. We interpret these larger variations in terms of the evaporation of isotopically light potassium; condensation of potassium in the vapor plume; partial or complete stirring and quenching of the melts; and the possible uptake of potassium from seawater. That the average 41K/39K ratio of the microtektites equals the terrestrial value suggests that the microtektite-forming system was compositionally closed with respect to potassium and less volatile elements. The possibility remains open that 41K/39K ratios of microtektites vary systematically with location in the strewn field.
  • Non-impact origin of the crater-like structures in the Gilf Kebir area (Egypt): Implications for the geology of eastern Sahara

    Orti, L.; Di Martino, M.; Morelli, M.; Cigolini, C.; Pandeli, E.; Buzzigoli, A. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    Several small crater-like structures occur in Gilf Kebir region (SW Egypt). It has been previously suggested that they could be the result of meteoritic impacts. Here we outline the results of our geological and geophysical survey in the area. The proposed impact origin for these structures is not supported by our observations and analyses, and we suggest an alternative interpretation. The crater-like structures in Gilf Kebir area are likely related to endogenic processes typical of hydrothermal vent complexes in volcanic areas which may reflect the emplacement of subvolcanic intrusives.
  • Polygonal impact craters in Argyre region, Mars: Implications for geology and cratering mechanics

    Öhman, T.; Aittola, M.; Kostama, V.-P.; Raitala, J.; Korteniemi, J. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    Impact craters are not always circular; sometimes their rims are composed of several straight segments. Such polygonal impact craters (PICs) are controlled by pre-existing target structures, mainly faults or other similar planes of weakness. In the Argyre region, Mars, PICs comprise ~17% of the total impact crater population (>7 km in diameter), and PICs are relatively more common in older geologic units. Their formation is mainly controlled by radial fractures induced by the Argyre and Ladon impact basins, and to a lesser extent by the basin-concentric fractures. Also basin-induced conjugate shear fractures may play a role. Unlike the PICs, ridges and graben in the Argyre region are mostly controlled by Tharsis-induced tectonism, with the ridges being concentric and graben radial to Tharsis. Therefore, the PICs primarily reflect an old impact basin-centered tectonic pattern, whereas Tharsis-centered tectonism responsible for the graben and the ridges has only minor influence on the PIC rim orientations. According to current models of PIC formation, complex PICs should form through a different mechanism than simple PICs, leading to different orientations of straight rim segments. However, when simple and complex PICs from same areas are studied, no statistically significant difference can be observed. Hence, in addition to enhanced excavation parallel to the strike of fractures (simple craters) and slumping along the fracture planes (complex craters), we propose a third mechanism involving thrusting along the fracture planes. This model is applicable to both simple and small complex craters in targets with some dominating orientations of structural weakness.
  • Characterization of the 1.2 micrometer M1 pyroxene band: Extracting cooling history from near-IR spectra of pyroxenes and pyroxene-dominated rocks

    Klima, R. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Dyar, M. D. (The Meteoritical Society, 2008-01-01)
    The 1.2 micrometer band in near-infrared spectra of pyroxenes results from Fe2+ in the M1 crystallographic site. The distribution of Fe and Mg between the M1 and M2 sites is in part a function of the cooling rate and thermal history of a pyroxene. Combining near-infrared and Mössbauer spectra for a series of compositionally controlled synthetic Mg, Fe, Ca pyroxenes, we quantify the strength of the 1.2 micrometer band as a function of Fe2+ in the M1 site. Near-infrared spectra are deconvolved into component absorptions that can be assigned to the M1 and M2 sites using the modified Gaussian model. The relative strength of the 1.2 micrometer band is shown to be directly related to the amount of Fe2+ in the M1 site measured by Mössbauer spectroscopy. The strength of the 1.2 micrometer band relative to the combined strengths of the 1.2 and 2 micrometer bands, or the M1 intensity ratio, is calculated for 51 howardite, eucrite, and diogenite (HED) meteorites. Diogenites and cumulate eucrites exhibit the lowest M1 intensity ratios, consistent with their formation as slowly cooled cumulates. Basaltic eucrites exhibit a large range of M1 intensity ratios, all of which are consistently higher than the diogenites and cumulate eucrites. This example illustrates how the M1 intensity ratio can be a used as a tool for characterizing the cooling history of remotely detected pyroxene-dominated rocks.