New micrometeorite, NMM 2952, is a rare barred olivine enigma

At times a micrometeorite is not what it appears to be at first glance, under the light microscope. Further studies completed with scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) or ultra-high resolution imaging often reveal additional details. Today, I present an exceptionally rare enigma, NMM 2952, that is not at all what it first appeared to be.

Measuring approximately 0.3 mm, NMM 2952 seemed to be a rather ordinary smooth cryptocrystalline (CC) type micrometeorite with a nickel-iron bead in the front. However, our during our photography session, which uses a special technique developed by yours truly and Jan Braly Kihle, we discovered that it is in fact a tremendously rare variety!

A Great Surprise!

We learned that NMM 2952 is actually a barred olivine (BO) type micrometeorite with huge amounts of glass! Now, it is not unusual that BO-type micrometeorites have some surplus of glass. This can be due to insufficient time or temperature after the atmospheric pulse heating, which would not have allowed the glass to recrystallize. However, having a whole section that remains in its glass formation is very rare indeed! In fact, I have seen this phenomenon only once before. Both of these extraordinary micrometeorites are pictured here and the green once can be found in my Atlas of Micrometeorites.

You may or may not know that there are common transitional stages between glass (V) type and CC-type micrometeorites. There are also common intermediate stages between CC-type and barred olivine BO-type micrometeorites. But between V-type and BO-type, with this much glass, I’ve only seen these two.

Any time I see a new micrometeorite for in all its splendor under the camera, I experience a deep sense of awe. In this case, I felt true astonishment and gratitude for having found another rare and beautiful space gem.

I hope you enjoyed learning about it and would love for you to come join in on my adventures on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Yours truly,

Jon Larsen

NMM 2952 and NMM 976 are barred olivine micrometeorites with abundant glass discovered and photographed by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle
NMM 2952 and NMM 976 are barred olivine micrometeorites with abundant glass, discovered and photographed by Project Stardust founder Jon Larsen and Jan Braly Kihle. © Project Stardust, 2022.

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