The history of Japanese Antarctic meteorites
Hideyasu Kojima, 2006. "The history of Japanese Antarctic meteorites", The History of Meteoritics and Key Meteorite Collections: Fireballs, Falls and Finds, G.J.H. McCall, A.J. Bowden, R.J. Howarth
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A Japanese field party (Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition 10 (JARE-10)), traversing in the Yamato Mountains of Antarctica in December 1969, recovered nine meteorite masses from ice-field surfaces. These meteorite masses were of diverse types, a fact that set in motion systematic searches for further meteorites. This was initiated by the JARE-15 field party in the austral summer of 1974, which recovered 663 meteorite masses from the ice fields. So many finds led to a hypothesis explaining the unusual concentration of meteorites on the Antarctic ice fields, and later parties searched systematically, according to this hypothesis. The JARE-20, JARE-29, JARE-39 and JARE-41 field parties collected 3692, 1949, 4148 and 3581 meteorite masses in repeated searches, respectively. A total of 15 741 masses is now held by the National Institute for Polar Research, and includes many rare classificatory types, lunar-sourced meteorites and meteorites widely accepted as of martian origin. The original find of nine meteorites triggered the extensive search programmes for meteorites by Japanese and American scientists both in the Yamato Mountain region and the Trans Antarctic Range region of Antarctica.
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This Special Publication has 24 papers with an international authorship, and is prefaced by an introductory overview which presents highlights in the field. The first section covers the acceptance by science of the reality of the falls of rock and metal from the sky, an account that takes the reader from BCE (before common era) to the nineteenth century. The second section details some of the world's most important collections in museums - their origins and development. The Smithsonian chapter also covers the astonishingly numerous finds in the cold desert of Antarctica by American search parties. There are also contributions covering the finds by Japanese parties in the Yamato mountains and the equally remarkable discoveries in the hot deserts of Australia, North Africa, Oman and the USA. The other seven chapters take the reader through the revolution in scientific research on meteoritics in the later part of the twentieth century, including terrestrial impact cratering and extraordinary showers of glass from the sky; tektites, now known to be Earth-impact-sourced. Finally, the short epilogue looks to the future.
The History of Meteoritics and Key Meteorite Collections should appeal to historians of science, meteoriticists, geologists, astronomers, curators and the general reader with an interest in science.