Meteorite flux on the Nullarbor Region, Australia

A. W.R. Bevan, P. A. Bland, A. J.T. Jull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper is part of the special publication Meteorites: flux with time and impact effects (eds M.M. Grady, R. Hutchinson, G.J.H. McCall and D.A. Rothery). The Nullarbor Region of Australia is one of the most prolific sites for meteorite recoveries outside of Antarctica. Reported 14C terrestrial ages for chondritic meteorites from the Nullarbor indicate an age range from present day to c.35 ka. There is good evidence to suggest that meteorites are lying on, or close to the surfaces on which they fell and that, physiographically, the region has remained essentially undisturbed for at least the last 30 ka. The Nullarbor can thus provide important data on the flux of meteorites over the period of accumulation. One significant factor influencing flux calculations based on meteorite accumulation sites is the determination of the number of falls represented in the recovered population. In the case of the Nullarbor, a general lack of transportation processes in the region and careful documentation of the distribution of finds allows confident 'pairing' of meteorites. For example, strewn fields of showers that have remained undisturbed for thousands of years are easily recognized and mapped today. Mass distribution statistics confirm that there are few undetected pairs in the population of meteorites so far described from the Nullarbor, and there is no evidence of selection of meteorites of a specific terrestrial age. The Nullarbor is the largest accumulation of meteorites nearest to Antarctica with a terrestrial age range (0-35 ka) that overlaps the Antarctic population (0 to >1 Ma). Analysis of the well-documented population of meteorites from the Nullarbor compared with Antarctica suggests that there are many unrecognized paired meteorites in the Antarctic population and the abundance of small meteorites at that site can be accounted for, at least in part, by the presence of large shower falls of common chondrites. The data suggest that there may also be many unrecognized paired meteorites in collections from the Sahara.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-73
Number of pages15
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Volume140
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Geology

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