Cool rocks from a cool place

I have just been reading Katie Joy’s most recent blog from Antarctica. It’s all good news. The search team have now collected this season’s 82nd meteorite specimen. An awesome achievement considering that this is just the second field season for the UK’s Antarctic meteorite initiative. Last season was really just a reconnaissance trip and even that yielded 36 samples.

But it’s not just a question of quantity. Reading Katie’s blog, it seems clear that they have been finding some really nice, relatively fresh samples, some of which retain features formed during their flight through the atmosphere. There is also a suggestion that there may be some rarer types amongst the latest haul. Of course, that will need to be verified by detailed laboratory studies.

There are also some very evocative images on the team’s blog showing what it is like to be down in Antarctica collecting meteorites. Romain Tartese does a great job blogging about the logistics of getting back from the field to Rothera, via Halley Base. He clearly appreciated having a nice hot shower after four to five weeks of roughing it in the field. Geoff Evatt recently posted some wonderful wildlife shots taken in and around the BAS base in Rothera.

The Manchester-based team have clearly done an amazing job. Their blog is a fascinating record of the hard work and dedication that is required when working in such an extreme environment. At BPSC the team’s meteorite curator, Jane MacArthur, gave a presentation about the samples that the team collected in their first season down South. It was a bit of a sneak preview and she asked us not to give details of the preliminary results of the analysis campaign. So I won’t. But I think I am allowed to say that they have collected some very nice samples. I can say no more! I am really looking forward to hearing more detailed scientific results when they are presented at LPSC, or perhaps more likely, the Meteoritical Society Meeting that is taking place later this year in Glasgow.

(image: NASA)

Featured image: British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Rothera base is located on Adelaide Island, west of the Antarctic Peninsula (image credit: BAS)

Top Image: Dr Romain Tartese contemplates a new meteorite find in Antarctica (image credit: Dr Katie Joy).

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