Wisconsin Meteorite now officially named Mifflin

Thu, 10/21/2010 - 14:06 -- admin

Piece of the meteorite Mifflin that fell in Wisconsin on April 14, 2010 that has been donated to the Field Museum. Scale is in centimeters. © The Field Museum, Photographer: Thomas Stephan.

The meteorite that fell in Wisconsin on April 14, 2010 is now officially named Mifflin by the Meteoritical Society and its classification as an ordinary chondrite meteorite of type L5 is now approved by the Meteoritical Society. The name of a meteorite unambiguously refers to the fall location. The small town of Mifflin in southwestern Wisconsin is located in the strewnfield were many meteorite fragments were found after the fall. The Field Museum was actively involved in the description and classification of the meteorite.

The classification of Mifflin as an L5 chondrite tells us that this meteorite comes from a asteroid fragment that was separated from its main body 470 million years ago in the asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter. At that time the parent asteroid of the L chondrite meteorites was hit by another object, likely a fast-moving asteroid or comet, and catastrophically disrupted due to the high energy of the collision. For the next 5 million years Earth was bombarded with up to 100 times more meteorites that normally - fragments from the asteroid collision. Today, 470 million years later, fragments ultimately originating from that collision still frequently hit Earth, like the Mifflin meteorite this year.

Several representative pieces of Mifflin are at the Robert A. Pritzker Center for Meteoritics and Polar Studies for further studies and are on public exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago.

Listen to an interview with the Field Museum's meteorite curator.