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Mystery Meteorite   contributed by John Divelbiss   MetBul Link

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2.88 gram slice.   LL3?

John writes:
The slice in the photos is one of the nicest meteorite samples I own, and have ever seen in any other collection. To me this meteorite is the original Chondrule Conglomerate from the early NWA days !! Weathered but so nice.

When sold to me it was given the name NWA 248 by the seller. It was 2.88 g and labeled as a LL3 from a small TKW of 17.2 grams. As I understood the seller's material availability, this slice I bought was all he had after my losing an Ebay auction from the seller for a similar slice to a well known LL3 collector at the time, with the initials M.M. (don't try to guess unless you knew him then).

Years later I realized this labeled NWA 248, LL3, 17.2g TKW meteorite was in fact NOT listed as such in the Meteoritical Society's Bulletin. And that in fact the real NWA 248 was actually an official L6 with a TKW of 280 grams. The bulletin did not say who the owner was. It was listed as "Buyer". The only ones near by on the list has the same "Buyer", but in one case...NWA 249, this particular meteorite was supplied by M. Cottingham and M. Farmer. The 249 meteorite is unclassified and described as a weathered LL3 weighing 30 grams, not 17.2. It was assigned M. Cottingham and sent to a Jay Zipfel who was a classifier somewhere at that time. All the other numbers around 249 went to UCLA, and Rubin.

So I contacted both guys(Mikes) a couple times, and neither claimed to have any details on it other than it went to one of the Arizona labs... it was thought to be NAU or Arizona U. No more explanation...no one coming to claim this poor orphan. Was this 249 or not?? Don't know. :(

So I will keep this slice hoping to find what the official Name and Type is, if ever done. And, if possible where his remaining Main Mass lives. My theory is went from a saw to a scope to a pocket to a personal/department collection somewhere along the line. Maybe it is NWA 249 not 248, and has a little more weight to it. Either way it is a desert BEAUTY with a twist of a story to it.

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John Divelbiss
 4/11/2016 12:13:57 PM
thanks to Mendy and Bernd I was able to contact Dr. Jutta Zipfel. She said based on the NWA rules at the time she had the assignment of being the NWA source material Bulletin reviewer, and NOT the classifier which was probably one of the Arizona labs. She said to check w/Dr Grossman who may know something about it. I think it is a dead end. My original theory of it "disappearing" sounds about right since the meteorite was so unique at the time.
Graham Macleod
 4/10/2016 6:12:09 PM
No mater what it turns out to be John it is the best choundrule filled piece I have seen! Well done M8.
Bernd Pauli
 4/10/2016 3:11:54 PM
"...and sent to a Jay Zipfel..." This is probably *Jutta* Zipfel. She worked at the MPI Mainz, Germany. I think she now works at the Senckenberg Naturmuseum, Germany. She is a well-known classifier of meteorites.
John Divelbiss
 4/10/2016 11:18:12 AM
Thanks Mendy for the comments and information on the intended classifier. The LL3.00 comment was tongue and cheek of course from. Too rare to be likely anyway. This is helpful for this specimen, and to be fair to both Mikes...they did process a lot of NWA and other meteorites in those days. They were the Wild West days of the NWAs.
Mendy Ouzillou IMCA#8395
 4/10/2016 10:09:58 AM
My last couple of sentences got cut off ... Thank you for the great mystery and so cool that the community can come together to help put the piece together. "Shergotty Homestead" (my bad pun for the week and my apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) would have been proud.
Mendy Ouzillou IMCA #8395
 4/10/2016 10:08:03 AM
Couple more of clarifying comments. The classifying scientist is Jutta Zipfel who works at the Senckenerg museum in Germany. You could certainly ask her what prevented the meteorite from being officially listed in the MetBull. My guess is that the owners, Cottingham and Farmer, never deposited the entire amount for the type specimen as that seems to have occurred many times. New rules are in place now to prevent a number to being assigned until the complete type specimen has been deposited. There is certainly no way this specimen is NWA 248 , a classified L6, and as Hanno offers below seems like a pretty good guess it is NWA 249. Finally, based on the slim data available, it is highly unlikely that this is a "possible LL3.00". Not because it can't be, but because this is an incredibly rare classification that requires a tremendous amount of research to actually prove one as such. Thank you for the great mystery and so cool that the community can come together to help put the piece
John Divelbiss
 4/10/2016 8:51:24 AM
Hanno... I appreciate the input and knowledge of the source of the real NWA 248. Maybe a simple typo. I would had hoped making contact with the suppliers would have cleared it up, but it did not. And truthfully it is small for classification. But to me it was too unique and expensive $ at that time(2001) to just write it off as too small to classify. Oh well...249 it is. While I am at it, I will also note as a "possible LL3.00". ;)
M Schulman
 4/10/2016 7:18:10 AM
Awesome chondrules. Those deep blues and million shades of tan and brown are so striking. And thanks for the write-up!
Hanno Strufe
 4/10/2016 3:44:32 AM
Hello John, maybe I can help a little. In january 2001 I bought from Mike Farmer a 36,4 gram endcut of NWA 248 on ebay. Some days later, I bought again a 71,0 gram endcut of NWA 248 from Mike on ebay as 1/2 of the main mass. This is what my Excel file tells me. For the labels I have to look later deep in my old boxes. So finaly I think, your label has just an error with the wrong number on it from copy and paste. Your piece seems to be a sample of the NWA 249.
 4/10/2016 2:43:30 AM
Thanks John. I'm just going to appreciate the coloration in this busy and exciting package of chondrules! A TKW of only 17 grams surly wouldn't leave much after classification and slicing, so if it is weathered there may not have been much incentive to move forward. Hopefully you get more info on NWA 249 and better yet, someone steps up to say they've found your match. Look into NWA 980 also, just for the heck of it, best luck and just think of how pretty all those colors are if nothing else :-)


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