UW-Madison: Geoscience Department seeks meteor fragments

CONTACT: John Valley, [email protected], (608) 263-5659; Noriko Kita, [email protected], (608) 262-7118 or (608) 265-9528

MADISON – Researchers in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Geoscience are making a plea for anyone finding pieces of the meteorite that blazed through the skies of southern Wisconsin last night (Thursday April 14) to bring them to the department for possible analysis.

It is possible there may be kilograms of meteorite scattered across the landscape of southern Wisconsin, says noted geochemist John Valley. “There are all sorts of things that might be learned from fresh material and it is time sensitive,” he says, explaining that short-lived radioactive elements are often formed when meteorites fall through the Earth’s atmosphere.

UW-Madison, Valley says, boasts some of the world’s most sensitive analytical equipment for studying such material. He notes that there are only about a dozen known meteorites from Wisconsin.

“Until we look at samples and are able to take some measurements, we won’t know what kind of meteorite it is,” says Noriko Kita, an expert on meteorites and director of the department’s Ion Microprobe Laboratory.

Pieces of the meteorite can be brought to the UW Geology Museum at 1215 W. Dayton St., Madison. Additional information about meteorites can be found on the museum’s webpage at http://www.geology.wisc.edu/museum/meteorite.html.

For more information, contact:

* John Valley at [email protected] or (608) 263-5659

* Noriko Kita, [email protected], (608) 262-7118 or (608) 265-9528