Category: Blog


Published: March 8, 2012

Field Museum receives donation of rare, ungrouped achondrite

Philipp Heck, Robert A. Pritzker Associate Curator for Meteoritics and Polar Studies and Head, Robert A. Pritzker Center, Integrative Research Center

Collections and Research Committee Member Terry Boudreaux and fellow meteorite collector Greg Hupé donated a beautifully polished 4.9-gram-slice of a rare, ungrouped achondritic meteorite (NWA 6704) to The Field Museum.  The meteorite fell in the Sahara desert in northwestern Africa and did not experience much weathering.  The interior is a beautiful yellowish green (see photo) and is composed of the mineral plagioclase, pyroxene, olivine, chromite, and of metal, and does not show signs of shock due to the impact.  The meteorite has lost its chondritic texture and is therefore an achondrite.  However, the petrology, the elemental and oxygen isotopic composition share characteristics of different meteorite groups and does not allow to group it with any known group.  “This unusual and precious meteorite is a wonderful addition to the Museum's meteorite collection,” said Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Philipp Heck (Geology), “it will be carefully curated in our state-of-the-art collection space to make sure it is available not only for current studies but also for future generations of scientists.”  The Department of Geology thanks Terry Boudreaux and Greg Hupé for their generous donation.

Philipp Heck

Philipp R. Heck is the Robert A. Pritzker Associate Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL. He is also an Associate Professor (part time) at the University of Chicago's Department of the Geophysical Sciences and the College, and a member of the Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry.

As the curator in charge and head of the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies, Philipp R. Heck oversees the collection of meteorites, the largest meteorite collection housed at a private research institution. Other responsibilities include the curation of the gem, mineral, rock and economic geology collections.