Meteorites & Asteroids

Away Team Idea: New Evidence On The Lost Giant Chinguetti Meteorite

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
February 23, 2024
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Away Team Idea: New Evidence On The Lost Giant Chinguetti Meteorite
Chinguetti meteorite fragment — Wikipedia

The giant Chinguetti meteorite that Gaston Ripert reported seeing in 1916 has never been found. A radionuclide analysis by Welten et al (2001) of the 4.5kg mesosiderite that Ripert recovered, supposedly sitting on the larger object, has convinced many that Ripert was mistaken, and interest in the giant meteorite has subsequently faded.

Aspects of Ripert’s account of the giant meteorite are nevertheless compelling, particularly his description of ductile metal needles in one area of the surface explored. Several visual searches for the giant meteorite, beginning in 1924, might have failed because the object was already by then covered in sand. Using DEM data we have measured dune heights and established their drift speed.

This has allowed us to create a map of locations where the meteorite could lie. The 2004 PRISM-I aeromagnetics surveys, acquired by Fugro for the Mauritanian Government for Mining Sector capacity building purposes, have the necessary area coverage, spatial resolution, and sensitivity to establish if the meteorite exists. In Jan 2023 we requested the PRISM data from the Ministry of Petroleum Energy and Mines, explaining, under Confidentiality, the scientific purpose of the request. To date the data have not been made available to us.

Map showing the high sand dunes, > 30 m height, to the south of Chinguetti. — astro-ph.EP

Robert Warren, Stephen Warren, Ekaterini Protopapa

Comments: Submitted to Meteoritics and Planetary Science 20 Feb 2024
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Geophysics (physics.geo-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2402.14150 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2402.14150v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Stephen Warren
[v1] Wed, 21 Feb 2024 22:16:03 UTC (424 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrogeology, Astrochemistry,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻