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Murray meteorite, Calloway Co., Kentucky, USA
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Latitude: 36°36'N
Longitude: 88°6'W
Classification: CM2 Carbonaceous Chondrite

On September 20, 1950, after a brilliant fireball was seen in the neighboring state of Illinois, the Murray meteoroid exploded at a high altitude and after a number of sonic booms were heard, several pieces of the meteorite were recovered some 15 kilometers east of Murray, Kentucky. The largest recovered fragment (3.4 kg) created a small 15 cm deep crater (Mass - 12.6 kg). Murray is the second largest of the 15 recovered CM (Mighei-like) Carbonaceous Chondrite falls. Over 400 CM stones have been recovered, but most of them are quite small. The five largest CM meteorites are all witnessed falls. A half century ago amino acids and other complex organic compounds were found in several extant CM2 meteorites. In the past two decades, interest in CM2 meteorites has quickened as tiny diamonds, corundum and other minerals appear to contain trapped gases which predate the beginnings of the solar nebula.

Murray and other carbonaceous chondrites share similar oxygen isotope ratios and have nearly solar Mg/Si ratios. In addition, the members of the CM chemical group are distinguished by small chondrules and inclusions, abundant fine-grained matrix (~70 vol%), and abundant hydrated minerals. The CM2 type are further characterized by their Ni-bearing sulfides.

Continuing concerns with Murray and other CM2 meteorites include: (1) Can we determine positively whether the hydrated minerals are preterrestrial? (2) Do exotic inclusions sample other bodies besides a putative CM parent body. (3) Do the minute particles/crystals of graphite, diamond, corundum, silicon carbide etc. tell us about the red giants, novae, and/or supernovae which supplied the heavier elements of the solar nebula.

The Meteoritical Society’s “Meteoritical Society Database” can lead interested parties to more information, references, and photographs.

Mineral List

var: Fassaite

'Chlorite Group'
var: Kamacite

'Pyroxene Group'
'Serpentine Group'
'Smectite Group'

29 entries listed. 22 valid minerals.

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Horan, John R. (1953). The Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky, Aerolite. Meteoritics: 1(1): 114-121. (May, 1953).

Ramdohr, Paul (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites. Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages.

MacDougall, J. Douglas & B. K. Kothari (1976). Formation chronology for C2 meteorites. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 33: 36-44. (November, 1976).

Phinney, D., MacDougall, J. D., & Whitehead, B. (1979). Magnesium Isotopes in Hibonite-Bearing Inclusions from CM Meteorites (Abstract). Lunar and Planetary Science X: 975-977.

Grady, Monica M. (2000). Catalogue of Meteorites (5/e). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, Oakleigh, Madrid, Cape Town. 690 pages.

Zinner, Ernst, Sachiko Amari, Robert Guinness, Ann Nguyen, Frank J. Stadermann, Robert M. Walker & Roy S. Lewis (2003). Presolar spinel grains from the Murray and Murchison carbonaceous chondrites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 67(24) [special issue]: 5083-5095. (December, 2003).

Lee, Martin R. & Rachael Ellen (2008). Aragonite in the Murray (CM2) carbonaceous chondrite: Implications for parent body compaction and aqueous alteration. Meteoritics & Planetary Science: 43(7): 1219-1231. (October, 2008).

American Mineralogist (2009): 94: 1483–1486.

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