Recovery and curation of the Winchcombe (CM2) meteorite

1Sara S. Russell et al. (>10)
Meteoritics & Planetary Science (in Press) Open Access Link to Article []
1Planetary Materials Group, Natural History Museum, London, UK
Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons

The Winchcombe meteorite fell on February 28, 2021 and was the first recovered meteorite fall in the UK for 30 years, and the first UK carbonaceous chondrite. The meteorite was widely observed by meteor camera networks, doorbell cameras, and eyewitnesses, and 213.5 g (around 35% of the final recovered mass) was collected quickly—within 12 h—of its fall. It, therefore, represents an opportunity to study very pristine extra-terrestrial material and requires appropriate careful curation. The meteorite fell in a narrow (600 m across) strewn field ~8.5 km long and oriented approximately east–west, with the largest single fragment at the farthest (east) end in the town of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. Of the total known mass of 602 g, around 525 g is curated at the Natural History Museum, London. A sample analysis plan was devised within a month of the fall to enable scientists in the UK and beyond to quickly access and analyze fresh material. The sample is stored long term in a nitrogen atmosphere glove box. Preliminary macroscopic and electron microscopic examinations show it to be a CM2 chondrite, and despite an early search, no fragile minerals, such as halite, sulfur, etc., were observed.


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