Alain Hubert handing over the first recovered meteorite to Dr. Hiroshi Kaiden (NIPR) - © Steven Goderis

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Continuing the Quest for Meteorites

The SAMBA team is back from a four-week meteorite search in Nansen Blue Ice Fields south of the station. A grand total of 218 meteorites were collected, ranging from 1 to 15 cm in diameter.

Meteorites fanatics love Antarctica. The ice preserves them and makes them easy to locate. By studying these extraterrestrial rocks, scientists get a better understanding of how planets formed and evolved.

On December 30th, Steven Goderis (VUB), Vinciane Debaille (ULB), Hiroshi Kaiden and Tsuyoshi Nagaki from the Japanese National Institute of Polar Research, as well as their Belgian Army field guide Sanne Bosteels were dropped on the plateau for a four-week meteorite search. The first meteorite was discovered during the survey done to find the best spot to establish the accommodation containers and to build the base camp.

Despite harsh weather conditions delaying field work for several days, all team members are quite happy with the results of their mission. In particular, they were delighted to have found very rare specimens: 2 rare achondrites (stony meteorite representing the Earth’s mantle) and a possible carbonaceous chondrite (the most primitive metorites, their composition is similar to the original material of the Solar nebula).

Collected meteorites will first travel to the NIPR in Tokyo for detailed classification and analysis. They will then fly to Belgium where they will be made available to the international scientific community.

Author: IPF

Picture: Alain Hubert handing over the first recovered meteorite to Dr. Hiroshi Kaiden (NIPR) - © Steven Goderis

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