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No. 50: Mar-Apr 1987

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Why are antarctic meteorites different?

Here's the problem:

"Differences exist between Antarctic and non-Antarctic meteorites, and the significance of this is only now beginning to be recognized. Dennison et al point out that relative to non-Antarctic falls, the Antarctic population is underabundant in iron and stony iron meteorites, among others."

Trace-element studies:

"...demonstrate a statistical unlikelihood that both sample populations derive from the same parent population."

One reason for the differences is that the Antarctic ice has been accumulating meteorites for many thousands of years longer than modern man has been picking up non-Antarctic meteorites.

(Lipschutz, Michael E., and Cassidy, William A.; "Antarctic Meteorites: A Progress Report," Eos, 67:1339, 1986.)

Comment. If Antarctic meteorites differ because they impacted the earth over a longer span of time, it must be that the meteor population in the vicinity of the earth has been changing. Why?

From Science Frontiers #50, MAR-APR 1987. � 1987-2000 William R. Corliss