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Lafayette   contributed by John Divelbiss   MetBul Link

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View all entries for   Meteorite (1)   John Divelbiss (98)


  Martian (nakhlite)

TKW 800 grams. Fall not observed. Found 1931, Indiana, USA.


John writes:
The famous Lafayette nakhlite remaining mass at the Smithsonian. I made a visit on 4/28/16. This piece is about 100 mm (4") across the bottom edge.
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#1

Found at the arrow (green or red) on the map below

 


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Anne Black

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2 pictures in the Queue
MexicoDoug
 5/13/2016 11:55:42 AM
Hi Al, I appreciate your thoughts as always, too bad your post got truncated. I'm not speculating, all the numbers I mentioned are based in fact/deductive reasoning. Sorry if my sarcastic tone undercut that. All you asked me for is proof Nininger took material. Easy peasy. Read the Nininger Moment #25 you published. Do the math. The British Museum got their 35 grams in 1958/9. Indiana was deceived when in got raided in '51. You could research this further by inquiring if Purdue still has a receipt of the transaction made with Perry.
AL Mitterling
 5/13/2016 4:00:30 AM
Hi Doug, Last post on subject. I still don't believe this meteorite sat around for 3,000 years and yet is perfectly preserved. Damage to the stone, weathering, and altering would have been major to this somewhat friable stone. I think if it did fall into Mud, that it would have prevented some contamination. Also a quick rinse of the stone was probably done at the fall site (if we believe the story of recovery) It takes time for contamination to set in and if it was recovered, the glass fusion crust would offer some protection to the stone. (just as a glass jug holds water). Doug can you offer any documents to support your arguments that Nininger grabbed material from Lafayette? Speculation is easy, proof is hard. While the specimen was sold to the Smithsonian, back then those types of meteorites were a mystery and value was hard to assess. Purdue made the trade so if they were willing to part with the specimen, I don't think it was really a raid. Only today can we say boy that
AL Mitterling
 5/13/2016 3:24:09 AM
Hi Doug, John and all, A mass of the material was taken from the Field Museum and given to a well known collector. Part of that material was sold to a collector near Chicago (20 grams). It is from this trade where most of the material comes that now grace private collections including my own specimen of 3 grams. I have a problem (not scientific) with the terrestrial age and wonder if they aren't testing an age event on Mars rather than Earth. I have real doubt that it would have been preserved so well (3,000 years more or less) and be in the pristine condition we see now. I think that a soil test should be given the specimen to help to determain a find location. As we get more sophisticated in testing and extracting evidence from meteorites, perhaps we can learn exact details and put things to rest. Possible that the story of a black student was mixed up with the specimen of Lafayette but we'll probably never know.
Graham Macleod
 5/13/2016 12:46:44 AM
Hi Anne, If you remove the 6 comments from (MexicoDoug) it cuts it down a bit :) No Offense MexicoDoug as your comments are always informative and supportive!
Graham Macleod
 5/13/2016 12:42:54 AM
WOW!!! Simply Stunning! Thanks John
Paul Swartz
 5/12/2016 5:22:32 PM
Certainly in sheer volume of text.
Anne Black
 5/12/2016 3:54:51 PM
WOW!!! I think that is the most comments I have ever seen on MPOD!
MexicoDoug
 5/12/2016 2:48:14 PM
Here is what I believe happened: Farrington of Field was classifying it and received 123 grams for that purpose. He died. Nininger grabbed the opportunity, but did little more than describe its physical features in glowing terms in his article. Analyses were done in Colorado, which I suspect were from the Field's 123g collaborating with Farrington. Enter Nininger, in exchange for writing the article and naming it Lafayette, he made a grab for his specimen. Nininger grabbed only a modest 191 grams. The remaining mass at Purdue after being raided by Nininger was at least 637 grams. So that means Lafayette was 951 grams plus cutting loss, so lets say about 975 grams as a complete individual. Nininger is purposely vague in his 1935 paper because he wasn't advertising how he raided Indiana.
MexicoDoug
 5/12/2016 2:34:10 PM
Hi Al, Gut feel had Nininger say the same about the freshness, as you and I upon seeing this. We need to base our speculation in the best peer-reviewed science available though, and it does not conflate ET with terrestrial age, and was nailed down which no matter quantitatively it were, it is much, much older than Nakhla (1911). You bring up a great project about testing any soil that possibly might still remain as a residue to gain some info on the true locality of the find. Though one wonders after all that has happened to the mass if that itself could be trusted, it definitely should be done, especially considering it would result in minimal to no damage to the meteorite, if an appropriate sampling can be found. But, another problem with the anecdote, is that a meteorite buried shallowly near a lake bank in Indiana would likely show major staining, which appears absent from all the lovely images.
AL Mitterling
 5/12/2016 1:54:53 PM
Hi Doug, John and all, A mass of the material was taken from the Field Museum and given to a well known collector. Part of that material was sold to a collector near Chicago (20 grams). It is from this trade where most of the material comes that now grace private collections including my own specimen of 3 grams. I have a problem (not scientific) with the terrestrial age and wonder if they aren't testing an age event on Mars rather than Earth. I have real doubt that it would have been preserved so well (3,000 years more or less) and be in the pristine condition we see now. I think that a soil test should be given the specimen to help to determain a find location. As we get more sophisticated in testing and extracting evidence from meteorites, perhaps we can learn exact details and put things to rest. Possible that the story of a black student was mixed up with the specimen of Lafayette but we'll probably never know.
John Divelbiss
 5/12/2016 12:17:16 PM
my mistake, that is not the Nininger one but another - curator.jsc.nasa.gov/antmet/mmc/Lafayette.pdf
John Divelbiss
 5/12/2016 12:15:16 PM
curator.jsc.nasa.gov/antmet/mmc/Lafayette.pdf location of Nininger article and photos
MexicoDoug
 5/12/2016 11:06:20 AM
Al, I am also a Nininger admirer and always love your comments about him and bringing his history to life. The evidence is circumstantial, but when Nininger describes Lafayette in 1935 he notes (brags) two complete sections besides the main mass. 123 grams is known to have been given to Fields before Nininger was involved, and the other to Nininger himself, and that Purdue had the main mass of about 600 grams. The motivation is clear. The Smithsonian acquired it in 1951 from Purdue for a $5,500 swap, and nothing, or perhaps up to 35 grams was removed since then thanks to their stingy policies. Their main mass is now 602 grams.
Mark Bittmann
 5/12/2016 11:00:38 AM
What a prize!
MexicoDoug
 5/12/2016 10:53:28 AM
Graham, If only we knew where Lafayette were from... The anecdotal story it fell next to someone fishing is at odds with the scientific findings. One also wonders how it could have been preserved so well anywhere in that part of the country, considering careful study of it concluded it fell before AD 100. Before it was known to be from Mars, it was thought by researchers that it might be a specimen of Nakhla. That was due to misinterpreting the high concentration of Xenon, which is now known to have come from the Martian atmosphere. The terrestrial age refuted the Nakhla theory. Researchers including Mason suggesting this, show how we don't even know the continent of the find. Farrington discovered this meteorite in the Purdue collection and it is his fault to have cut the first chunk off for Field. Nininger, describing it as the most perfect and impressive oriehntation he'd ever seen, can be blamed for cutting another similar sized chunk by jumping on it right after Farringt
AL Mitterling
 5/12/2016 9:43:24 AM
Doug, But Nininger said that the Lafayette Meteorite should NEVER be cut and left as an example of flight orientation of a meteorite. Seems Odd that he would have been involved in its cutting. In the published papers of H.H. Nininger and in a popular science article written by Nininger, a black student was at a small lake fishing when the specimen fell. He dug it up out of the mud and kept it for sometime before taking it to Purdue, where it was later discovered by Farrington of the Field Museum. While there is nothing that supports it from being from Indiana, there is nothing that supports it being from anywhere else from my investigations. Can you offer any papers or research that it might be from the south?? Many meteorites are moved around before being "discovered" are we to make claims they are from elsewhere without scientific evidence? Could get complicated. Best!
Wendy Swartz
 5/12/2016 9:05:13 AM
Wow! A real beauty!
Herbert
 5/12/2016 7:10:14 AM
Wonderful. It can't get any better than that!
Denis gourgues
 5/12/2016 5:26:33 AM
Perfect !!!!!!!!
Steve sutton
 5/12/2016 5:25:01 AM
What an awesome specimen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Graham
 5/12/2016 3:01:51 AM
Shame the find location was not recorded accurately...would have been worth searching more.
Graham
 5/12/2016 2:59:47 AM
Beautiful!...a shame that it's find location is not recorded accurately Doug....would have been worth a few more searches in that area.
Matthias B.
 5/12/2016 2:46:21 AM
Breathtakingly beautiful space-shell - clear signs of pilgrimage has emerged at the very end of the path. Thanks for sharing, John. Matthias
MexicoDoug
 5/12/2016 1:14:39 AM
This corn pone example of an oriented parabolic meteorite with fantastically beautiful flow lines and wondrous fusion traits was hacked by the Fields Museum to get two slices, around 100 grams each, one for them and one for Nininger who was somehow involved, and then the remaining piece illustrated in John's picture, 602 grams, was scored by the Smithsonian. Though it is claimed to be from Indiana, there is absolutely nothing that supports this assumption/assertion. Purdue's collection contained specimens from all over and this has no provenance except a bit of folklore which suggests also that it could be from a Southern state.
 

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