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Dating antarcic meteorites

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Although many meteorites are paired (parts of the same original fall), the Antarctic collection still represents several thousand new samples, which is comparable to the total number of catalogued meteorites that were collected elsewhere over the past several centuries.Because large concentrations of Antarctic meteorites occur within small areas, the traditional geographic naming system used for meteorites is not applicable.Researchers in remote East Antarctica think a massive area of fractured ice discovered last month could be a newfound meteorite impact crater.The mile-wide crater (about 2 kilometers across) is a circular scar marked by fractured, rumpled ice — a striking blot in this otherwise smooth section of Antarctica's King Baudouin Ice Shelf.There are other known asteroids that do not orbit within the Main Belt (such as various near Earth objects or NEOs), and some of these also could be sources of meteorites.The most prevalent meteorites found on Earth contain small, partly glassy spheres called chondrules, and such rocks are termed chondrites (of at least 14 different types).’s surface, many that fall in Antarctica are frozen into its ice sheets, which slowly flow from the centre of the continent toward its edges.

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This diverse collection of asteroids may include primitive objects (that is, early, unprocessed material left over from the accretion or partial accretion of the planets from the solar nebula), but also the disaggregated remains of now destroyed former planetary bodies, some of which had resided much closer to the Sun.

The crater was a serendipitous find, sighted by chance north of Belgium's Princess Elisabeth Research Station.

German researchers at the station intended to remotely survey the surrounding bedrock, in order to gather new details on the Gondwana supercontinent's formation and breakup between 550 million and 180 million years ago.

Meteorites are objects composed of rock and sometimes metal which are derived from various solar system bodies, and after traveling through space land on the surfaces of other solar system bodies (notably Earth, but also the Moon and Mars, and no doubt other worlds).

Most meteorites are not observed to fall, but instead are found long afterwards, and then must be subjected to a variety of forensic tests to ascertain their provenance. Most meteorites are reasonably inferred to come from relatively small bodies (up to several hundred kilometers in diameter, but mostly much smaller) located within the Main Asteroid Belt, which is a collection of more than 100,000 objects larger than 1 km constrained by celestial mechanics to orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.