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The Dar al Gani meteorite field (Libyan Sahara): Geological setting, pairing of meteorites, and recovery density


Schultz,  L.
Cosmochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Schlüter, J., Schultz, L., Thiedig, F., Al-Mahdi, B. O., & Abu Aghreb, A. E. (2002). The Dar al Gani meteorite field (Libyan Sahara): Geological setting, pairing of meteorites, and recovery density. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 37(8), 1079-1093.

As of July 2001, 1238 Libyan meteorites have been reported. Most were found in two areas called Dar al Gani and Hamadah al Hamra. Dar al Gani is located on a plateau of marine carbonate rocks with marly components. Eight-hundred and sixty-nine meteorites between 6 g and 95 kg totalling 687 kg have been found here but the calculated mean recovery density is comparatively low with one meteorite on 6.5 km(2). Dar al Gani is a perfect site for the recognition and preservation of meteorites. The existence of meteorites is the result of a combination of specific geological and geomorphological conditions: there is a bright-colored, old limestone plateau (<2 Ma), under and weather conditions over long periods of time, with rapid elimination of surface water if present and low erosion rates. The preservation of meteorites is guaranteed through the absence of quartz sand on the plateau, strongly reducing wind erosion and a basic environment emerging from the carbonate ground retards rusting of metallic meteorite components. A supposed soil cover during pluvial times has probably protected older meteorites and led to a concentration of meteorites of different periods. An evaluation of Dar al Gani meteorites suggests the existence of at least 26 strewnfields and 26 meteorite pairs reducing the number of falls to, at most, 534. Shock and weathering grades as a tool for the recognition of pairings turned out to be problematic, as several strewnfields showed paired meteorites which had been classified to different shock and weathering grades.