Meteorite smorgasbord

We were fortunate to have meteorite expert Dr Tony Irving from the University of Washington visit our group at the start of September 2018. Tony is a terrestrial geologist by training, and over the last twenty years has undertaken the characterisation and classification of many different meteorites. He brought with him an amazing collection of thin section samples from the majority of the different meteorite groups, including a wide range of metamorphic classes for us to view.

The two day event was a mix of introductions to the subject and talks on current meteorite thinking and science challenges, some good discussions about changes in our theories, and a chance to look through a lot of amazing (and often incredibly beautiful) samples. Tony also gave a school wide research seminar on his favourite topic of martian meteorites and you can hear a webcast with Tony from our friends at the Jodcast.

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Some photos from Tony Irving’s meteorite workshop at the University of Manchester.

Several of us in the group have been studying meteorites for much of our careers, and yet have rarely (if ever) had the chance to see so many different types of samples in one place and the workshop was a great opportunity to learn something new. Several of our STFC and NERC PhD students joined the workshop as part of their subject training activities, and we also had some international visitors attending the workshop – thanks to Ben and Jürgen for coming over from Holland and Germany to join us for the event. Ben brought with him some of his incredible collection of hand sample meteorites – giving us all the opportunity to hold some huge (think hold in your hand sized!) pieces of the Moon and Mars, and see some incredibly rare new groups of asteroidal meteorites.

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Thanks to SEES for funding Dr Irving’s visit, and thanks very much to Tony for making time to put such a great workshop together for us all to enjoy.


We also tried out the school’s new microscope and touchscreen setup which allows people in the room to wifi in via their mobile phones and easily capture thin section images direct from the main lab microscope. From Tony Irving’s meteorite thin section: stunning barred olivine chondrule (~0.5 mm in diameter) seen in cross polarised light (Image: KJoy)


About Katherine Joy

Hello! I am Katherine Joy. I am part of the University of Manchester Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry group. More details about my research interests can be found at
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