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Lost Meteorites of Antarctica

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Sedgwick Club Conference 2020

Meteorites are the only natural source of material from beyond the Earth, providing invaluable evidence of how the Solar System formed and evolved. Over 66% of the total classified meteorites to date have been found in Antarctica. However, iron meteorites are under-sampled (0.7%) in the Antarctic collection compared with worldwide meteorite falls (5.5%). The team from the University of Manchester spent two austral summers in Antarctica exploring new blue icefield areas for meteorites using several methods. These included developing technology to identify sub-surface iron meteorites, to test the hypothesis that iron-rich meteorites are likely to lie buried a few cm below the surface, as well as collecting meteorites found at the surface. 36 meteorites recovered from the first field season are in the process of being classified, with another 80+ meteorites from the second field season due back in the UK later this year. I will unveil some of the first images and data from these new samples.

Dr Jane MacArthur is a cosmochemist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester. She is curator of the first UK Antarctic meteorite collection, responsible for classifying all the meteorites recovered. Her research interests include analysing the first breccia meteorite from Mars, and the comparison of comet grains with chondrites, to better understand mixing in the early Solar System.

This talk is part of the Sedgwick Club talks series.

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