An examination of the Frass Ranch materials sent to determine meteorite or martian meteorite provenance.

Are the Mars Meteorites Really From Mars II ?

By Bill Cutler and
S. Ray DeRusse
       
           July 05, 2004

    Mr. Mike Moore of Los Alamos, NM, sent to us by US Postal numerous photographs, two thin sections and a video tape of a sample purporting to be a meteorite from Mars, a terrestrial planet.  The video tape provides an extensive oral presentation of the chemical composition-analysis of much of the sample.      We want to start by pointing out an error made at the very beginning of  his meteorite project. Very early on in the video tape you say, that while walking on a Ranch with your aunt you saw a strange object on the ground, and since it looked out of place from surrounding material you said it must be a meteorite. And then you  wasted no time in saying it must be from Mars. This is a major mistake, because as we reviewed the tape it seems you first decided that the sample was a meteorite and then began weaving the data and your thought processes to justify your initial conclusion making its identification premature. When someone sees something strange or different on the ground, the first thing that comes to mind is usually not that the object is a meteorite, unless you are actually out hunting meteorites. This scenario is very similar to behavior by scientists who have made a decision seeking a result and then begin weaving the data and information to fit that decision. To us this means that you lost all hope of objectivity very early on in this project in seeking the truth.
    Mr. Moore, we are placing a tremendous amount of emphasis on certain aspects of meteorite identification because there are certain areas over which a scientist cannot mislead by pretending to be doing science or injecting some other motive.  While we agree with you from the literature, that there is probably wide variation in-on the martian planet, there is a minimum standard where you cannot seek to ignore or divorce yourself from the laws of physics in arriving at your conclusions. These rules of physics work hand in hand with all matter both organic and inorganic (chemistry), leaving us with no ability to separate one from the other, because one is used to describe the other. Were it from Mars, your sample would violate these laws of physics which describe the present  world.
    First, the sample appears vesicle laden in thin section, and consistent with this you say it is very friable. It is reasonable to expect, based on velocity and pressure, that if your sample arrived as such it would have exploded into thousands of little pieces prior to landing. As vesicle laden as it is, the escape velocity required to launch it from Mars would have annihilated the sample and it never would have made it to Earth. (See van Flandern, "Are The Mars Meteorites Really From Mars" a portion of which is reproduced below). You insist and say it is a different type of meteorite from the current Mars meteorites. But that does not matter because all meteorites are subject to the same laws of physics no matter what their origin or chemical composition.
Dr. van Flandern writes;

÷ A meteorite from Mars must escape the Martian gravity field. This implies a launch speed greater than 5 km/s to exceed escape velocity. Such projectile velocities can result only from the largest of asteroidal impacts on Mars, and certainly cannot arise from even the largest volcanoes, or any other known acceleration mechanism.

÷ The meteorite-to-be must be suddenly accelerated from rest to at least 5 km/s as the impact blast wave passes, but without vaporizing. It is easy to compute the amount of energy that must be transferred to the meteorite, and the short time it has for its acceleration to escape speed. Small bodies the size of ALH84001 would normally be completely vaporized by such a shock wave transferring that much energy that quickly, and any surviving fragments of a rock barely big enough to partially survive vaporization would themselves be heavily shocked. Meteorites associated with a lunar origin, for example, apparently all had ejection velocities under 3 km/s, with survival rate decreasing sharply at the higher ejection speeds. [B.J. Gladman, J.A. Burns et al., "The exchange of impact ejecta between terrestrial planets", Science 271, 1387-1392 (1996).]

÷ ALH84001 was neither vaporized nor heavily shocked. So the rock initially ejected from Mars by the impact must have been huge compared with ALH84001, which itself must have been well-shielded deep in the interior of the larger rock.

    On the chance your sample made it out of Mars, the only way it could have remained intact on arrival is if it floated to the surface gently like a snow flake and landed on a carpet of grass. If it was denser on arrival, then terrestrial weathering altered portions of it into vesicles shown in your thin sections below right. But if that was the case then the precursor chemical composition of the vesicles had to be a component calcium carbonate or some semi or non crystalline compounds easily transformed chemically by water or moisture at standard conditions. But under the microscope, I see no secondary mineral chemically altered rims around the vesicle interior caused by terrestrial weathering ; meaning it formed on Earth and the vesicle interior has changed little since it formed.

Above is the sample in question and at right are the thin sections showing a clear and convincing vesicular texture caused by the solution of amorphous minerals subject to disintegration by hydration in a terrestrial environment or the vesicles were empty air pockets from the very beginning.

     Consider the analysis Dr. van Flandern is invoking as proof of one thing or another in his paper about ALH84001 and martian meteorites, and which applies to the impact event itself.  This means that in the case of a Martian Meteorite it should have some impact mico-fractures and in fact the larger the stony meteorite the more fractures you may see in the interior. Your sample is very large and you report no web of interior impact fractures, therefore it is probably not a meteorite. The smaller the sample the less likely one is to see impact fractures. Based on the laws of physics several things should have occurred for which there is no evidence.
    You implied on your videotape that one day your sample was not there and the next it was, meaning it was a very recent fall with respect to the timeline.
Therefore it should have a fusion crusted surface. A recent fall should have a fusion crusted surface while a heavily weathered very old find will have very little to no fusion crust. For the sample to appear as it does with no crust it  would have to be a very old impact to allow time for weathering,  but that places a very heavy burden on your timeline claims because it cannot appear suddenly in a week or so out of nowhere without a burnt surface. Because of its size, someone would have seen an object in the sky with a tail from the burning surface either day or night. In addition to the tail your sample is so large there would have been a sonic boom followed by a small crater or hole at the impact site. You reported no crater and showed no evidence of such in your videotape or even mentioned it. There were no reports mentioned around the time you found your sample, of objects in the sky and no reports of a sonic boom.


As you can see above left Mr. Moore, large stony meteorites such as the lunar sample (BCC9601) have some micofractures in the interior caused by the launching impact. These are caused by sudden and forceful impact. Since it is more than 99% percent crystalline and very hard material, the fractures weave through the interior.

     Above right you see the weathering rind of the outer surface of BCC9601, the lunar sample. This ~1cm thick surface rind around the sample is a product of weathering at standard conditions on Earth. Exposed to hydration, atmospheric pressure, and temperatures different from original parent body for a lengthy period. Your sample should have a differing interior from exterior with the interior of the sample having a chemical composition derived from the parent body. The thickness of this rind will be a function of the chemical composition and length of time at standard conditions; a resistance to terrestrial weathering marker.
       Not withstanding chemical similarities, the rate of weathering is slightly different for all stony meteorites because they are all essentially from different places or different parts of the same source having their own composition, and all generally arriving at different times. In this case the sample above is lunar however, it only represents the portion of the Moon  from where it came. (Not the entire lunar highlands surface).
        At left you see a sample that is presumably from one of the Apollo missions. You notice that it is full of pocks and vesicles. Try not to focus on how the vesicles got there, that's another story. Very little of this sample would have survived in large pieces were it to arrive in the form of a meteorite, because the increased area and shape of the pockets would create lots of drag directly proportional to the surface area upon atmospheric entry causing it to rip apart.
    You say you hammered a copper tube through your sample and removed a round core, and that it was very friable and coming apart. We really must appreciate meteorites for what they are and don't think hammering a tube through a sample is a good idea. Nevertheless, we don't think we can hammer a tube through even our softest sample without it completely breaking apart, a very ancient carbonaceous chondrite.

                                                                                                           At left is a very interesting sample someone brought to us and thought was an iron meteorite. This sample was found in a very special place on private property in north Texas. Naturally it has very high density and is very heavy. This material appears to be natural material, does not appear to contain synthetic components and it actually appears to contain some iron in crystalline form which is not very common. It appears to have no volcanic associated material such as ash, lava, or magma and from the literature, implies sub crustal  mineralogy.  Do you think this could be a remnant product of a massive meteorite impact which exposed the Earth's interior to the seas above? It does have an apparent beach sand component throughout the sample. We wanted to show you this sample because there are numerous materials and samples out there but not everything  is a meteorite.
    Suppose  the sample shown at left and broken below is meteorite excavated ancient sub crustal material from close to the iron core, and lets say for the sake of argument that we actually find small asteroidal fragments, and or cometary grains embedded in the sample by chemical analysis. Finding trace amounts of these in the sample does not necessarily make the entire mass a meteorite does it? While the sample shown here is very interesting and can be used to make or advance certain notions and hypothesis it cannot be called a meteorite even if it is a product of  meteorite impact activity. It has its place in history. Similarly your sample has very unique characteristics and has its proper place in history but unfortunately it is not a  meteorite.
     Consider the following, Mr. Moore. We have been working on a sample but have placed it on hold. The sample meets all of the geophysical characteristics of a meteorite but is heavily weathered. Two spot tests by SEM indicate an abundance of elemental Ni and it is very magnetic. However, Mr. DeRusse is not convinced it can qualify as a meteorite. He wants a separate analysis of opaque oxide grains found on the thin section to determine exact composition for  magnetite or a solution of Fe-Ni. We know that even though it meets all of the definitions and elemental Ni is not found in Texas this could be an anomalous sample or pseudo meteorite, but according to Mr. DeRusse cannot be called a meteorite without much more testing. Your sample does not meet a single preliminary test as far as we can see.


    Above left, the main mass of the sample broken to expose the interior.
    The creatures you describe in detail found in the sample and which you relate to Mars are from Earth. It should have dawned on you that when you saw microscopic animal life having no eyes and having unusual formations that, in fact, these are cave and cavern dwellers (needing no eyes since there is no light in caves) and that they are evolved over millions of years. These microscopic life forms were probably caught in your sample via torrential floods and commingled with hydrothermal and volcanic activity resulting in the sample in your hands. In closing we would like to make several points.

       1) In one of your email you say we have been led by the scientific community to believe what a meteorite should and should not be. This is not necessarily true because there are certain laws of physics that are observable and verifiable when one examines the products of a meteorite fall or find. Oftentimes there is very little time between the observing of the fall and someone picking it up, providing little opportunity for anyone to come in and change the appearance, shape, or chemistry of a sample. So we have ground truth evidence of what to expect Mr. Moore.
       2) The scientific community had no ready motive or agenda to misinform you or anyone else in this case, therefore, they told you the truth. Telling you the truth was easy because it served their purpose. You were not the target of scientific misconduct or fraud fueled by bigotry and racial discrimination like minorities and others are. People in your position have an advantage, but minorities, and the disadvantaged receive different treatment and  usually are the victims of scientific misconduct, fraud, and abuse as you are now well aware.
      3) Everyone is capable of making mistakes including those trained professionals you depended on. For example, as you are aware from the current Mars missions,  scientists wasted little time in reporting their findings from examining of nearby stones and fist sized rocks. Because there are no known processes on Mars which produce stones of this size we run into the 25 % possibility and high probability that these stones could be excavated martian materials by meteorite impact. Or 75% possibility that they could be meteorites from other moons, planets, or asteroids that landed on Mars. . These probabilities are enhanced because the instrumentation is reporting results from a crater, generally a known impact event. So you see, a simple mental miscalculation could result in attributing the chemistry of another planet, moon, or asteroid (in the form of a meteorite) to the planet Mars.   Even the information being given out on this current mission(s) has to be taken with guarded caution on the results reporting. 
       4) You may want to consider apologizing to those who feel you mistreated them over this matter. You may not get much of a response but at least you are the better and bigger person for apologizing.
       5) Your sample, however changed and reformed and semi static-dynamic to its present state by the Earth and its internal and external natural forces; you can at least say that your sample is a product of a star or stars because all organic and inorganic matter is derived from stars. The reworking of your sample resulting in its present state is an indirect product of a star but not a pristine meteorite from Mars or an evolved planetary body.
Mr. Moore this sample would be an excellent gift,  to a microbiology or marine biology department of an appreciative institution. Perhaps a junior college or university or something like that. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to let us know.

S. Ray DeRusse and Bill Cutler

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