Workshop on Using Radar Imagery for Meteorite Fall Detection and Recovery


Conveners: Marc Fries and Mike Zolensky (NASA Johnson Space Center)

September 7, 2014, 8:30 to 17:00 in the Hyatt Regency Casablanca, Anfa Room.

Registration on Sunday 7th 7:30 to 8:30 in the lobby.

Lunche and two coffee breaks included in the workshop registration fees.

 Weather radar imagery is a proven new means of locating fresh meteorite falls. In the United States, weather radars have assisted in the recovery of the Sutter's Mill and Battle Mountain meteorite falls, as well as two more falls in Alabama and California within the past two years. This presents an opportunity, because weather radars are operated by national weather bureaus worldwide, and usually make their radar imagery available to the public. It should be possible for researchers around the world to use their local weather radar networks to locate meteorite falls. This workshop has the goal of teaching researchers how to analyze weather radar imagery in their own country for real-time meteorite fall information, thereby greatly increasing the recovery rate for new large meteorite falls.

 The recent detection of meteorite falls in the U.S. was possible because weather radar imagery was rapidly disseminated by the nationwide, civil weather radar network (NEXRAD) operated by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Radar imagery dissemination was so rapid, in fact, that in all four falls, radar imagery showing falling meteorites was available for download from a NOAA website while meteorites were still falling towards the ground. The scientific community benefitted measurably from these fall events through research performed on these fresh meteorites. For the Sutter's Mill fall, a local research institution coordinated a very successful, consortium-based retrieval, record-keeping, and analysis effort of the fall. All of these factors combine to produce a proven model for future meteorite recovery efforts.

 This model can be applied worldwide. Weather radar networks are not particular to the United States, and in fact the UN World Meteorological Office states that there are about 75 national weather radar networks around the globe. This means that a large portion of the world's landmass is continually scanned for falling meteorites, and this represents a tremendous but untapped scientific potential. The quality and accessibility of these radar data are widely variable, however. In this workshop we will discuss the basics of detection of meteorite falls via weather radar, the attributes of radar data that are helpful for identifying meteorite fall signatures and how to employ them, and the particulars of obtaining radar imagery for research purposes. As with the Sutter's Mill meteorite fall, it should be possible for any scientific institution to locate fresh meteorite falls using existing instrumentation, and then lead meteorite recovery and research efforts which will benefit the institution, the local populace, and the meteoritics research community as a whole.  

Workshop on how to identify and curate a meteorite


Conveners: Brigitte ZANDA (MNHN Paris) and Albert JAMBON (UPMC, Paris)

September 7, 2014, 8:30 to 17:00 in the Hyatt Regency Casablanca, Beauséjour Room.

Registration on Sunday 7th 7:30 to 8:30 in the lobby.

Lunche and two coffee breaks included in the workshop registration fees.

The workshop will have a practical session dealing with how to recognize a meteorite, and a more theoretical session dealing with searching strategies and how to classify and curate a meteorite. The official language is English (French being optional: communication in French will be possible as French-native speakers will run the workshop). Bring your own samples and tools!

Field recognition
        Physical aspect: optical examination - falls vs finds
        Magnetic properties
        Internal texture
        Geological context

Searching strategies:
        Falls, finds and regulations.

Laboratory examination, classification requirements and curation
        Chondrites/ Achondrites/ Irons.
        SEM, EMPA, ICPMS, XRF, MS analyses, Cosmogenic isotopes.
        Curating meteorites