Taxonomy term

meteorite

Santa Fe impact crater discovery: A series of fortunate events

In the ancient pink and orange hills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Thornton “Tim” McElvain, a retired petroleum geologist, leads me over a concrete highway barrier to a towering granite road cut. McElvain steps onto a rock pile and points to a meter-long block of granite, the freshest offering to fall from the rock face. One side of the block tapers roughly to the shape of a cone, with grooves coming together to form a point.

“This is the best shatter cone example I’ve seen here,” McElvain says.

07 Oct 2011

Down to Earth With: Lucy McFadden

Not many people can say they have an asteroid named after them. But Lucy McFadden, a self-described small planetary objects junkie, can. For nearly 40 years, McFadden has woven her two loves — astronomy and geology — into a career in planetary geology. She has mapped craters on Mercury, participated on NASA missions to comets, and collected meteorites in Antarctica, all in the interest of discovering more about the formation of our solar system.

21 Nov 2009

Travels in Geology: Chesapeake Bay, from impact craters to executive orders

The lower part of the Chesapeake Bay offers more than crab cakes and boating. Today, the bay is central to one of country’s largest environmental campaigns. But an excursion around the Virginian coasts provides an amazing peek into the mid-Atlantic region’s rich geological, environmental and cultural history, spanning impact events, glaciation, early colonial settlements and modern struggles with pollution and rising sea level.

06 Oct 2009

Ancient meteorites reveal early magnetic fields

Even before the birth of the planets, our solar system was hardly a lonely place. Small rocky bodies, called planetesimals, filled the inner solar system, eventually colliding together to form the planets. Now a new look at a group of ancient meteorites shows that at least some planetesimals generated their own magnetic fields — a feat many scientists thought extremely difficult for such small astronomical bodies. The work also has scientists rethinking how planets formed.

21 Jan 2009

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