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The Amazing World of Fusion Crust

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#26 zagami

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 01:59 PM

Ahhh, I see.

First of all, not all 869 is actually 869. When buying NWA material in bulk, there is often material that differs from the rest. Sometimes there are even plain old rocks in the box.

Now this mixing of material usually occurs at the main dealer level where material is purchased in the 10s to hundreds of kilos. The bulk material is usually high-graded or cherry picked for unusually crusty specimens, or ones that don't stick to a magnet. (early on in the NWA or Saharan meteorite trade, nomads were taught to use a magnet to identify meteorites from rocks. However, the rare achondrites including lunars and martians did not show any attractiveness to a magnet. So now the high grading of NWA material is often meteorite-looking material that is not attracted to a magnet--but I digress).

So in essence, just because something is listed as 869 does not mean with certainty that it is 869. In fact, the name NWA 869 has been kind of a general catch-all number for NWA material that looks much the same with the original 869 character.

I noticed the crust on your two pieces was different so my natural reaction is to consider the artifacts (brightness, contrast, etc.) of a digital image. If all hold up and the crust really is different, the the next logical step to to look for other differences.

I noticed that you photographed the specimen on a Hupe' Collection specimen label. I've known Greg and Adam for many years, and in fact, I was the very first person on the planet to give them ebay feedback. But I digress yet again. They get in big boxes of unclassified NWA material, irons, stones, etc. I know because I've been to their house when they lived in Renton, WA. I even did some high-grading myself. They study the pieces pulling out the odd ones for further inspection, selling the common ones (like 869), and donating other pieces. Sometimes they hit the jackpot with ultra-rare classes and planetary specimens. Sometimes they strike gold like with their olivine-diogenite. Sometimes ordinary chondrites hold amazing interiors full of chondrules, brecciation, metal, etc. But in the end, often those that look alike are often sold under the most likely classified NWA number.

Anyway, regardless of the given name of the material, there is a chance that it is something else. Maybe. Maybe not. But either way, it is worth exploring.

Digital imaging almost always presents a different view of the reality of a specimen so it is something to consider when viewing an image. Below is an example of this. Pictured is the slice of Weston that was in Bob Haag's 1994 collection catalog. As you can see, the actual specimen is different from the picture. And if I set the actual-actual specimen on the picture of the specimen sitting on the picture of the specimen (if you follow me), you will see that all three look somewhat different.

I hope this made sense, and thanks for your patience with me and my ramblings.

Attached Files



#27 zagami

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 02:09 PM

Hi again,

Here are a couple web links that offer insights into the NWA and 869 issues:

http://www.meteorite....com/NWA869.htm

http://tin.er.usgs.g....php?code=31890

http://www.meteorites.com.au/nwa869/

As you will read, there is much confusion about 869, and for many of the NWA in general for that matter.

#28 zagami

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 04:46 PM

Hello again,

Here is an excellent story by my friend Jim Tobin about his experiences with a similar situation.

http://www.meteorite...s_Fragments.htm

I've known Jim for over a decade and have dug through giant boxes of NWA meteorites fresh from North West Africa and straight off the shipping truck at the Tucson show. Jim and I spent hours studying the stones, comparing magnetic properties, crust, heft, shape and form. We would buy them by the kilo in hopes that a saw cut would reveal magic, not more L6. I got a few winners, mostly low number chondrites, and possibly an achondrite I've yet to have analyzed.

Meteorites from NW Africa, etc. must be taken with a grain of salt, or better yet, with an understanding of the situation, how they were gathered, sorted, represented, sold, and then resold... and resold again.

Here is a article about this from Norbert Classen, the current president of the International Meteorite Collectors Association.

http://www.meteorite...ews/feature.htm

Anyway, I don't mean to rock any boats. However, those of us who were along for the entire ride of hot desert, Sahara, NWA and the like likely have a far different take on the nature of these stones than a collector who started collecting after the meteorite paradigm shifted as the hot desert stones flooded the market.

#29 Talstarone

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:24 AM

Martin, I have to say I look at your posts in a different light. Perhaps you meant them to be taken in one particular manner,but I have taken it in another light.

It seems as if you have tried to cast a dubious shadow on the hobby of meteorite collecting.This is cast on Both the Dealers as well as their products.

I for one can openly say that your post stating many pieces sold as NWA 869 are not actually NWA 869. But lets start with first things first.

Many,if not most meteorites come from one "main mass" or "parent body".The pieces cut from these "main mass" pieces are the same as the piece that was cut for classification and identification. So meteorite pieces that are sold from a find that consisted of one or two 200 + gram pieces, are completely 100% Genuine and Authentic(Unless sold by an individual who is purposely engaged in dis-honest business practices).

I can be sure that ALL of my Specimens are Genuine and as stated. More then 90% of my collection has come from The Hupe collection(which is one of the largest and most well respected and known for the "average" collector)(average meaning those of us who do not have thousands of dollars to spend on single specimens)Another 5% of my Collection has come from members in Good Standing of the IMCA. And the final amount of my collection has come from our resident Meteorite Dealer Mike Gilmer(Glassthrower) a member in good standing of the MS.

Very few of my specimens are from falls that contained several pieces(such as NWA 869).So I can be Assured that my collection contains actual meteorites from the Specimens they are claimed to be from.

So we can all be assured that pieces sold from a single meteorite are authentic. But in regards to specimens from Meteorites that have several "parent bodies" or NO Single "Main Mass" Specimen, I have this to show: No Where On This Specimen Card, Nor Any Where In The Listing Placed For This Individual Piece Of NWA 869, Is It Stated That There Is A Chance That It May Not Be A Piece Of 869,Or Possibly A Terrestrial Rock. 869

So I Seriously DO NOT Believe the Hupe's would sell a piece that they were not 100% sure of. I also do not believe the IMCA Would Allow Such Practices From ANY Of Its Members without revoking their membership or at the very least repramanding them for their business practices.

I am sending a copy of your posts to both the Hupes and the IMCA.I think it is only fair to allow both sides to have a chance to make their cases.

It is sad that what you have posted has scared and alarmed many average Collectors and those who have thought of collecting.

So in the end,Martin. You have taken a somewhat new hobby, that was growing at a tremendous rate, and cast a shadow upon it, that may stunt its growth and scare away new collectors.

I am not saying that you are being dishonest or trying to do anything damaging on purpose. I am merely pointing out how I have taken your post and what facts I do not agree with.

You have every right to express your beliefs and opinions. However these opinions can not be classified as facts without going through a long and arduious process that will also include information and posts of opinions from all sides involved.

So we will see where this series of opinions takes us.

#30 zagami

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 10:54 AM

Hi Talstarone,

Please do post exactly what you uncover in your communications with Adam Hupe’ and the IMCA.

I sincerely believe that their replies will be of great interest to this CN forum, and will enrich the collecting experience for all those new to the hobby.

#31 Talstarone

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 07:59 PM

Here Is The Reply From Adam Hupe Regarding The NWA 869 Issue.It Has Been Approved By Adam Before Being Placed.

Hi Todd, I have known Martin for years, he is a good guy. If I read the string properly, he cast doubt about some of your NWA 869 pieces. This is understandable since NWA 869 is very variable. I have seen several variations of NWA 869 over the years. Unlike most of the meteorites we deal with, NWA 869 consists of thousands of individuals so there is room for mistakes, however two scientists are part of our team and helped us categorize them. I am confident in what we sale and will offer a full refund if there is any doubt. Best Regards,

Adam

#32 zagami

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 10:00 PM

Hi All,

First, I would like to thank Talstarone, er.. Todd, for having the tenacity, dedication and appreciation for meteorite collecting to go beyond what most would do. Thanks Todd. You are a true gentleman and asset to the meteorite collecting community.

Second, the meteorite in question, NWA 869, is by far the most questioned of any NWA species ever. NWA 869 holds aspects that cause it to become the poster child of questionable NWA meteorites. This is for several reasons including its extremely large total known weight (in the neighborhood of two or three metric tons!), its wide distribution among dealers and collectors, but most importantly, its large classification category as an L4-6 meaning it can hold many different appearances.

Most of the other NWA numbers are immune to the speculation of 869 simply because of the lack of the characteristics mentioned above. However, it still might be a rude awaking to many collectors when questions of pairing, authenticity (with regard to a specific NWA number, not as to whether or not it is a meteorite), or total known weight.

These are all issues that more seasoned collectors have dealt with long ago. Terms like main mass, pairing, and even unknown location of the find were great struggles at first, but those collectors involved from the start learned to overlook some of the differences between hot desert meteorites, conventional finds, and witnessed falls.

Frankly, I can’t imagine how one could jump into collecting meteorites these days given that it is exponentially more complex meteorite world than when I started. In fact, there are so many more categories, and so many rare classes accessible to the collectors, that I often loose track of all the amazing discoveries coming from the hot deserts of Africa myself.

And in case anyone is wondering, my avatar picture is NWA 2086 just to prove I’ve been around the block with these things (and I suspect that the CAI in my slices of 2086 may be the largest CAI in the world). But on the other hand, a new collector can obtain material from meteorite classes that were not even dreamed about by the collector a decade ago.

Anyway, I could have approached this more subtly, so I apologize if I scared anyone into thinking it was really a wild west of naming out there. If Adam Hupe’ is selling something as 869, then there is nobody on the planet that knows more about that particular specimen then him. But that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. One of the best places to look for new Martian and lunar meteorites right now is in old collections that would have classified them as something else simply because the science of the time did not hold a place for pieces of Mars and the Moon within a meteorite collection. But then, of course, if you study your meteorite history, you will see that not too long ago, our mineral collections did not hold a place for rocks from space. Meteorite collecting, in many ways is still in its infancy. Therefore, if you are reading this, likely you are a true pioneer in the field. Congratulations!

-Martin

#33 pjstoker

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 11:06 AM

A most interesting and informative thread! Thanks to both Martin and Todd for staying with this one. I’m sure that I was not the only one who learned a great deal from the images, descriptions and dialog exchange.

Pat

#34 RockGirlsRock

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:06 PM

Hi Todd (and Martin and Adam),

I don't think that Martin meant to cast doubts on many dealers' integrity, he is just being realistic. I'm not saying this is what happened here but he is right that not every "869" is an 869. 869 is such a huge fall that it does seem to be a catch-all for anything with medium to darker brown leathery crust, some brecchia may be present, chondrules pop out of the crust or varnish a little bit, some CAI's might be visible, the matrix has a certain look and there are many variables within those characteristics. Adam and Martin have had many kilos pass through their hands and both know what they are talking about and I have sliced many kilos (sorry Martin) because 869 is one of my favorite meteorites.

As an example, I purchased a complete "869" stone in Tucson a few years ago that I know isn't an 869 but the price was great, it's beautiful and it's 95% crusted. The crust is too smooth and too thick, the contraction joints are just wrong and the interior doesn't have the characteristics of an 869 but I bought it anyway. The guy I bought it from mostly sells high-end fossils and not so many meteorites. He did, however, also have a small pile of oriented 869's that now also reside in my collection. I am as sure they are 869's as I can be. He purchased the crusted stone and the oriented stones as 869's and I suspect he doesn't have the experience to know one of them wasn't an 869.

I think your pictures of that crusted fragment makes your crust look a bit too black, a bit too shiny, and rougher than I'm used to seeing. It looks a little better in your second photo -- the one with the two stones on the Hupe card -- but it's still a little rough. As someone who most of the time can't take a good meteorite photo, I am used to seeing my own distortions due to flash, bad light, etc., so I wonder if that isn't part of the issue here. I am, however, sure that the second, more rounded stone is as much of an 869 as I can tell from a photo. When I look at that one I see that the picture is too dark but recognize it to be an 869. I don't see crust on the lower stone but it has that brown varnish I am used to seeing.

One thing you need to know about Martin is that you can trust that if he sees something off about your crust, there's something off about your crust. We all can only tell so much from a photo though, especially one that may be too dark. Please take a minute to really evaluate your photo against the original auction picture to see if there's a difference between your photo and Adam's.

One thing I know about Adam is that he is extremely careful about what he sells. If he sold something as an 869 and there's a chance it's not an 869, he will want to know. Please give him a chance to correct the situation if he's made a mistake.

I wholeheartedly support Martin and Adam's knowledge and integrity, and respect your defense of the truly good dealers. The same dealers you rely on also helped to build my knowledge and collection. I'm sure there is a peaceful way to turn this back into the healthy debate that was intended.

Respectfully,

#35 csa/montana

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:34 PM

Maria, I would like to give you a warm Welcome to Cloudy Nights! Glad to have you join us here on Space Rocks!

We are indeed priviledged to have another very experienced person among us; and we are looking forward to hearing much more from you, in the future!

#36 Talstarone

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 06:09 PM

I would also like to say Welcome,Maria.

It is a Great Pleasure to have you amongst us. With your tremendous knowledge of meteorites and your very kind,helpful,and generous demeanor, it is a real pleasure to have you here.

Hopefully this will be only the first of many posts and we will find you looking the Forum over quite often. I am sure there are probably many members here that you know and familiar with.

Have a Wonderful Time here,Maria my Friend.

#37 RockGirlsRock

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 01:52 PM

Thank you very much for your warm welcome! You are very kind.

#38 meteorite

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 02:03 PM

Well my word. First I find Martin here on Cloudy Nights and now Maria. I guess they will let anyone in the door! :roflmao:

My opinion: Todd's picture is inconclusive. I have seen many kgs of NWA 869 and cut some into half-stones. NWA 869 does not have "fusion crust" per se but rather it has a nice desert varnish or patina that in some specimens resembles fusion crust. I have seen references to "relic crust" on some specimens of NWA 869 (as well as some others) but I have yet to see true fusion crust or even "relic crust" on NWA 869.

I hade a nice large specimen of Gold Basin once that DID have relic crust and it did not look like a desert varnish.

-Walter Branch

#39 Talstarone

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:51 PM

Thank You for your valuble input,Walter.

I must truly say, I have learned more in this one thread on fusion crusts, then I have in the entire time I have been collecting.

It has been a joy to have so many well respected and knowlegeable individuals chime in to share their experience.

So, again, I would like to say Thank You to everyone that has posted and shared their vast amount of knowledge and wisdom.

#40 RockGirlsRock

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 06:41 PM

Well my word. First I find Martin here on Cloudy Nights and now Maria. I guess they will let anyone in the door! :roflmao:

[snip]

-Walter Branch


Hello Walter!
Yup, give her some crust and she'll take the whole stone. :jump:

:woohoo:

#41 zagami

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 01:28 PM

I'm bumping this thread up so I can refer to it in the "Interesting NWA - Unclassified - Type ?" thread

#42 MeteoritesEire

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:39 AM

It's getting bumped again back from the dead as I've just been searching for the difference between remnant fusion crust and relict fusion crust and this thread was first page on Big G.

A search for 'what is relict fusion crust' doesn't provide any definitive answers at first glance,some further searching will be required although my instinct tells me that relict fusion crust and remnant fusion crust are the same.It's an interesting topic and one in which I must gain
further knowledge.

#43 Dick Lipke

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:14 AM

WOW!!!! This thread brings back some great memories.
All these names that have posted on here makes me wonder, where have all the knowledgeable collectors gone?

#44 MeteoritesEire

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:27 AM

BTW I just visited the first page of this thread after google initially threw me into page 2 and the mention of 'relic crust' from Walter.Must just add my WOW to all the others for the excellent specimens Martin

#45 sealevel

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:58 AM

Hi All,
It would be really nice if Martin would chime in again... Have a happy new year.

Davio R.

#46 rfinney

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:11 PM

Great thread to bump - great to see those amazing crust photos from Martin - classic!!

I still have 42 NWA 869 specimens from the days listed in this thread in my collection.

The largest is 167.7 grams - most are around 30 grams.

This is one of my better crusted pieces:

http://www.lpi.usra....p?recno=5658012

I have yet to photograph a specimen of NWA 869 on display at a museum anywhere in the world - but it seems to be the most common meteorite in most people's collections.

The MetBull page is full of photos of NWA 869:

http://www.lpi.usra.....php?code=31890

Does anyone have some additional crust photos to share of other meteorites?

Best Regards,

- RF






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