Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

The meteorite collection of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France

By
Catherine L. V. Caillet Komorowski
Catherine L. V. Caillet Komorowski
Laboratoire d'étude de la Matière Extraterrestre, Département Histoire de la Terre, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN), 61 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France (e-mail: ccaillet@mnhn.fr)
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
January 01, 2006

Abstract

The French national meteorite collection of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) represents one of the richest collections in the world in terms of its historical heritage and scientific value, particularly for samples of observed falls (512). In fact, early meteoritic research was dominated by French 18th and 19th century scientists such as René Just Haüy, Auguste Daubrée, Stanislas Meunier and Alfred Lacroix. They all contributed, along with Jean Orcel and Paul Pellas in the last 80 years, to form this exceptional collection. The fall at L'Aigle in 1803 led to the recognition of the nature of meteorites and the promotion of the science of meteoritics by Jean-Baptiste Biot. The first catalogue of the meteorite collection elaborated by Cordier in 1837 contained 43 specimens. The collection now contains about 3385 specimens representing 1343 distinct meteorites, to which can be added at least 3000 tektites and numerous specimens of impactites, casts, artificial samples and thin sections. France has the greatest number of meteorite falls by surface unit and by number of inhabitants, with 70 distinct meteorite falls recovered. The collection offers a diverse range of meteorites such as those containing rare presolar grains, the famous carbonaceous chondrite Orgueil (fall, 14 May 1864), the first martian meteorite, Chassigny (fall, 3 October 1815) and Ensisheim (fall, 7 November 1492), which is one of the two oldest observed and documented meteorites and the first meteorite to be registered in the catalogue. The MNHN collection represents a resource that is particularly appreciated by the scientific community.

You do not currently have access to this article.
Don't already have an account? Register

Figures & Tables

Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

The History of Meteoritics and Key Meteorite Collections: Fireballs, Falls and Finds

G.J.H. McCall
G.J.H. McCall
National Museums Liverpool, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
A.J. Bowden
A.J. Bowden
National Museums Liverpool, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
R.J. Howarth
R.J. Howarth
University College London, UK
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of London
Volume
256
ISBN electronic:
9781862395046
Publication date:
January 01, 2006

GeoRef

References

Related

A comprehensive resource of eBooks for researchers in the Earth Sciences

This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

View Article Abstract & Purchase Options

For full access to this pdf, sign in to an existing account, or purchase an annual subscription.

Subscribe Now