Earth Day and a Rare Meteorite Fall

Pictures of the retrieved meteorite sample from Turkey. Figure and full caption can be found in the original published paper. Unsalan, et al. 2019.

Pictures of the retrieved meteorite sample from Turkey. Figure and full caption can be found in the original published paper. Unsalan, et al. 2019.

Happy Earth Day 2019, Earthlings!

I dedicate this Earth Day blog to a rare meteorite fall in Turkey that may link the remnants of the meteroite to the asteroid 4Vesta! How cool is that?!

In late 2015, the Sariçiçek meteorite that fell in Turkey is a howardite – a fragment of the regolith (or soil) of the asteroid 4 Vesta (recently studied by the Dawn spacecraft). Howardites are a class of meteorites that are achrondritic stony-irons specific to the 4Vesta asteroid. Over 200 distinct subclasses are known!

Sariçiçek is the first fully-documented howardite fall with enough images and video, making it extremely rare for documentation! From this mass media, scientists are then able to trace its trajectory!

This study is led by Ozan Unsalan at Ege University. His team presents evidence that the meteorite records magmatic processes as far back as 4.55 billion years ago and repeated impacts before it was launched into an Earth-crossing orbit some 22 million years ago.

On 4Vesta, a full mapping from the NASA Dawn mission gave clues as to a likely origin candidate of the meteorite- Antonia Crater. This crater is also about 22 million years old based on the surface age and rim morphology and sharpness.

You can read their full paper here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/maps.13258

Antonia Crater on Vesta that may be the source crater of the Sariçiçek howardite meteorite. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA, Dawn Mission.

Antonia Crater on Vesta that may be the source crater of the Sariçiçek howardite meteorite. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA, Dawn Mission.

Thank you for reading and come back soon for a look at Rhea!

Caitlin Ahrens