An Article In Meteorite-Times Magazine
by Robert Verish

Nova 005


"Click" the above image of Nova 005 to ENLARGE!!
(Large file, please allow time for the image to download)

This article is about a meteorite that is reported to have been found in the Owens Valley area of California, probably in 2002 or before. This article is also about the necessity to conduct timely follow-up on reported meteorites. Otherwise, the confirmation of a find location may become impossible and the application of a "Nova number" to that find becomes necessary. In the case of this meteorite, Nova 005, the man who was reported to be the finder died in a traffic accident before he and the find location could be independently confirmed. This meteorite appears in the Meteoritical Bulletin under the "What's New" section.


"Click" the above image of Nova 005 to ENLARGE!!
(Large file, please allow time for the image to download)

If this meteorite looks familiar, that's because it was featured in my September 2002 article. (If this meteorite looks familiar for any other reason, the reader is encouraged to contact the Nomenclature Committe, preferrably before the 2006 Met Bulletin is published, or email me at the address that appears at the end of this article.)

For the convenience of the reader, I've reprinted, below, my remarks about this meteorite from my September 2002 article:

This 200 gram chondritic stone was found by an 80 year old man who lives alone on a ranch in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It was brought to me for identification and examination by a friend of his. We had arranged to meet at a Denny's restaurant. All of the images of this stone were taken in that restaurant. I had to make do with what light was available, but for the most part it is indirect, morning sunlight along with a little incandescent lighting.

When presented to me for examination, this stone was already in two pieces, a main mass and a much smaller, flat-shaped fragment. The 30 gram fragment easily re-attached to one end of this oblong stone. But this fragment had on its top side a dime-sized spot where the fusion crust appeared to be crushed. Prior to this fragment being broken off, this stone was obviously whole with 100% fusion crust. This crust exhibited contraction cracks over the majority of its surface, which were filled-in (in most of the cracks) with a light-colored, fine-grained silt that stood in stark contrast to the nearly black exterior. There was a hint of smeared clay where the stone May have been resting on the ground at one time. Other than those streaks of clay and the cleaved 30 gram fragment, the exterior was unflawed.


Separating the "cleaved" portion of the stone from the main mass reveals an unweathered interior. I call this "cleaved", because there is evidence that this stone was struck with a hammer, possibly in order to reveal its interior. This may never be confirmed, but this exposed surface most likely has been exposed to the elements for week to months. There is ample evidence that the fusion crust, the contraction cracks and the area immediately underneath have experienced much more weathering; than the exposed surface. [And according to results produced by measuring isotopes in the whole stone at Battelle Labs - Washington, this stony has a terrestrial residence time of ~25 years.]
Unless the rusty metal grains directly underneath the contraction cracks are used in the determination of weathering grade, this stone would probably be deemed a "W1". [And based upon the classification of this stone by UCLA, that is exactly how it is recorded.]



"Click" the above image to ENLARGE!!

This cleaved fragment has become the "type specimen" for this meteorite. A sample from this fragment was taken to be thin-sectioned and micro-probed in order to determine its classification. If you "Click" on the this image and allow time for this large file to download, the close-up image will reveal a relatively fresh broken surface, exhibiting untarnished sulfide grains, a few metal grains which have stained the matrix with a rusty halo, and scant few chondrules that are clearly equilibrated with the crystalline ground mass. This indicates the stone to be a common Ordinary Chondrite (OC).



"Click" the above image to ENLARGE!!

In this image the marks on the fusion crust indicate the bottom side of the stone where it had rested on the ground in a clay-rich soil.

As I examined this interestingly shaped stone, I wondered how the stone survived its fall intact?
And other questions came to mind:
How long did this stone sit on the ground until it was found?
How can this stone appear so fresh, yet recently fallen stones, like the Neuschwanstein meteorite, already look so weathered?
Being a complete individual with 100% fusion crust, and NO secondary fusion crust, (meaning, there was no evidence of a fragmentation event) is there less of a chance of finding other stones from this fall? Or was this a single-stone fall?
Being so fresh, how did this stone get to the ground without a bright fireball and sonic boom being witnessed in the recent past?
Did this stone fall during a CLOUDY DAY?
Is this stone large enough to produce a sonic boom?
What size/shape does a stone have to be, before the deceleration of its fall to subsonic velocity produces a sonic boom?
Like the October 1997 "Little Lake" Bolide, are there any other fireballs + sonic booms reported from the Mojave Desert area?
And still more questions...


This end of the stone shows where it was struck when the fragment was "cleaved".

The find location may never be known. And I have no other recovery information. But, in the meanwhile, I will be making a very concerted effort to authenticate the find location. Meaning that I will be searching for supporting evidence, such as another fragment from this fall. With a little bit of luck, one of my future articles might be a report on how I linked this stone to a witnessed fireball!


All of the meteorites shown in this article will appear in the 2006 Meteoritical Bulletin.

For more information about these meteorite finds, please contact me by email: Bolide*chaser


Google Web Search Results 1 - 10 of about 408 for Meteoritical Bulletin Nova number.

Guidelines For Meteorite Nomenclature
... the name Nova followed by the next available three-digit number should be ...
to the Catalogue and by ensuing numbers of the Meteoritical Bulletin. ... - 24k - Cached -

My previous articles can be found *HERE*

For for more information, please contact me by email: Bolide*chaser