Block Island meteorite

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Block Island meteorite
376060main PIA12161 full straightened and sharpened.jpg
Type Iron
Parent body Unknown
Composition Nickel, iron, Kamacite, taenite[1][2]
Weathering grade Large-scale, cavernous weathering[2]
Country Mars
Region Meridiani Planum
Coordinates 02°07′00.85″S 05°31′02.85″W / 2.1169028°S 5.5174583°W / -2.1169028; -5.5174583Coordinates: 02°07′00.85″S 05°31′02.85″W / 2.1169028°S 5.5174583°W / -2.1169028; -5.5174583[3]
Observed fall No
Fall date Possibly late Noachian
Found date July 17, 2009[4]
TKW >0.5 short tons (0.45 t)[5]
Strewn field Possibly[6]
Block Island.jpg
Block Island in close up.

Block Island meteorite was found on Mars by the Opportunity rover on July 17, 2009. It is about 67 centimetres (26 in) across.[1]


Block Island was the first of three iron meteorites encountered by the rover on Meridiani Planum within a few hundred meters, the others being Shelter Island (the second meteorite found), and Mackinac Island (the third one found).[2]

No strong evidence exists concerning when Block Island may have fallen on Mars, though atmospheric conditions would have favored its arrival in the late Noachian period. Block Island may be extensively weathered,[2][6] or conversely the features covering it may simply be the regmaglypts formed by its passage through the atmosphere. Contrary to some claims, Block Island is not too large for the modern martian atmosphere to produce, though the denser the atmosphere the more effectively it would produce Block Island mass meteorites.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Nemiroff, Robert; Jerry Bonnell (August 13, 2009). "2009 August 13". Astronomy Picture of the Day. NASA. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ashley, J. W.; et al. (July 2011). "Evidence for mechanical and chemical alteration of iron-nickel meteorites on Mars: Process insights for Meridiani Planum". Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (1991–2012) 116 (E7). doi:10.1029/2010JE003672. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ Google Mars
  4. ^ Atkinson, Nancy. "Opportunity Spies Unusual Rock — Large Meteorite?". Universe Today. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ Staff (September 14, 2010). "Mars' Odd 'Block Island' Meteorite - A Clue to an Ancient Atmosphere". Daily Galaxy. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Beech, Martin; Ian M. Coulson (2010). "The making of Martian meteorite Block Island" (PDF). Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 404. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16350.x. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ Chappelow, J. E.; Golombek M.P. (July 2011). "Event and conditions that produced the iron meteorite Block Island on Mars". Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (1991–2012) 115 (E12). doi:10.1029/2010JE003666. 
Notable rocks on Mars
Block Island.jpg
58606main image feature 167 jwfull.jpg
El Capitan sol27 pancam.jpg
Barnacle Bill
Bathurst Inlet
Big Joe*
Block Island
(Opportunity) M
El Capitan
PIA07269-Mars Rover Opportunity-Iron Meteorite.jpg
PIA09089-RA3-hirise-closeup annotated.png
PIA17062-MarsCuriosityRover-HottahRockOutcrop-20120915.jpg PIA16192-MarsCuriosityRover-Target-JakeRock-20120927.jpg
PIA05482 modest.jpg
NASA Curiosity rover - Link to a Watery Past (692149main Williams-2pia16188-43).jpg
Heat Shield
(Opportunity) M
Home Plate
Jake Matijevic
Last Chance
Mackinac Island.jpg
Mars rock Mimi by Spirit rover.jpg
PIA13418 - Oileán Ruaidh meteorite on Mars (false colour).jpg
Pot of gold upclose.jpg
Mackinac Island
(Opportunity) M
Oileán Ruaidh
(Opportunity) M
Pot of Gold
Rocknest 3
Shelter Island
(Opportunity) M
|(Notes: * = linked article is about the mission that encountered this rock; M = Meteorite)