Blogs & Videos: Geology

Field Museum Scientists Study Ancient Asteroid Impact

About 470 million years ago – in a time period called Ordovician – the parent asteroid of one of the L chondrites, one of the most common meteorite types, was disrupted in a collision with another body. This event led to a subsequent bombardment of Earth with collisional debris for at least 10 million years.  

Space Travel Time and Preatmospheric Size of Mifflin

Right after the Mifflin Meteorite fell in SW Wisconsin in April 2010 the Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Dr. Philipp R. Heck coordinated an international study to determine the time it spent in space and to calculate its size in space before it got ablated and broke apart in our atmosphere. Now, first results obtained from this study are published as extended abstracts, and were presented in more detail in March at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas: The new results show that Mifflin was travelling through space as a small 3 feet object for about 20 Million years before it landed in Wisconsin.

Lasers, Ceramics, and Numbers

February 14 through February 17 I used the Laser Ablation-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) at the Elemental Analysis Lab to source decorated earthenware from the prehispanic site of Tanjay on Negros Island, Philippines.  This research will address the debate on the importance of craft specialization to the development of pre-modern complex societies and elucidate exchange networks for prestige goods in prehispanic Southeast Asia.  

"Google Earth" Meteorite Gebel Kamil donated to the Field Museum

Private meteorite collector and Collections & Research Committee member Terry Boudreaux donated to the Field Museum two specimens of the iron meteorite Gebel Kamil that formed a 45-m-wide impact crater in the southwestern corner of Egypt (East Uweinat Desert) near the Sudanese and Lybian border.  The crater was discovered through Google Earth in 2009 on a Cretaceous sandstone surface; the impact occurred less than 5000 years ago as reported in a recent article in Geology.  

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