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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT METEORITE NOMENCLATURE

The Meteoritical Society established a naming system for meteorites to prevent confusion in the scientific literature and among those who collect, display, trade, or sell meteorites. Every meteorite meteorite is given a unique name that can be linked with certainty to a well-documented discovery or fall event. Scientific publications must always use official meteorite names to ensure that the work will be reproducible in the future. Key journals and scientific meetings, including those sponsored by the Meteoritical Society, require manuscripts to use official meteorite names.

The Meteoritical Society is the internationally recognized authority on meteorite names. The society's Nomenclature Committee (Society information; historical list of members) is charged with approving new meteorite names and, when necessary, abolishing or discrediting existing names. The Meteoritical Bulletin Database (MBDB) is the official repository of all meteorite names, and is updated within 7-10 days of all decisions regarding these names. A meteorite name is not official unless it is listed as such in the MBDB.

All new meteorites will need the following information, at a minimum, to be submitted to NomCom in order to be considered for approval:

  1. Information about the find or fall circumstances, including who, what, when, and where.
  2. An authoritative classification
  3. Information about an appropriate type specimen being deposited in an approved institutional collection
See this document for more information.

  1. Submission template for new meteorites
  2. Template for obtaining provisional names for meteorites
  3. Template for submitting data on members of strewnfields

Primary contacts for the Meteorite Nomenclature committee are:

A requirement for approval of all meteorite names is that an appropriate type specimen is deposited in an official repository. Details of these requirements are found in the Guidelines for Meteorite Nomenclature.

Institutions wishing to apply for approval as a new type-specimen repository should contact the Editor of the Meteoritical Bulletin Database

Contact Jeff Grossman, the Editor of the Meteoritical Bulletin Database

Provisional names are given to meteorites from dense collection areas in order to have a useful label during the classification and approval process. Provisional names appear in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database (MBDB) as tan-colored records, clearly labeled with a status of "provisional" and a meteorite type of "unknown." Although provisional names are tabulated in the MBDB, they are not official names, and may not be used in publication.

See this document for more information on provisional names.

The following types of updates will be considered for inclusion in the Meteoritical Bulletin:

Note that the Bulletin does not track the holdings of collections beyond what is reported in the initial announcement of a meteorite. Therefore, changes of ownership will not be accepted for publication.

Contact Jeff Grossman, the Editor of the Meteoritical Bulletin Database jngrossman@gmail.com if you wish to submit updates.

When the locations of individual stones in the strewnfield of a meteorite fall or find are known, they may be reported in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database. They will appear in the Geography section for the meteorite, as, for example, in Almahata Sitta. In some cases, where the individual locations have not been digitized, a georeferenced image file may also be presented, as, for example, in Orgueil.

If you wish to submit new locations for strewnfield members, use this Excel template to tabulate the information, and send it to the Editor of the Meteoritical Bulletin Database. If you have an image file showing the locations of stones, email it to the same address.

The Nomenclature Committee does not assist with inquiries of this type, and they may not be answered. Please refer to recently classified meteorites in the database to see what labs are currently active in meteorite classification.