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Basic information Name: Mercantour
     This is NOT an official name: Discredited meteorite.
Abbreviation: There is no official abbreviation for this meteorite.
Observed fall: No
Year found: 2014
Country: France
Mass:help 203 g
Meteoritical Bulletin:  MB 105  (2016)  L4-6
Recommended:  L4-6    [explanation]

Comments: Entered 15 May 2016
Revised 2 Nov 2016:
Writeup from MB 105:

Mercantour        44.145°N, 7.311°E

Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, France

Find: 2014 Sept 25

Classification: Ordinary chondrite (L4-6)

History: A systematic search of moraines and rocky surfaces by Eric Paillery led to this single discovery in the Southern Alps granitic massif, within Mercantour National Park, near 2900 m elevation.

Physical characteristics: A single angular fragment, covered ~30% by a relatively fresh fusion crust. Gray color with minor rust spots. Inner surface sometimes covered by a carbonate rind. Little patina visible. A few small rounded quartz grains inserted in cracks, with a light-orange soil matrix.

Petrography: Breccia with type 4 to 6 clasts (major class 4 to 5). Distinguishing type 4, 5 and 6 was done based on polished section observation of the morphology and overall texture of chondrules and metal grains. Mean chondrule diameter 707±39 μm. One fine-grained clast with low metal and troilite content was observed. Weathering at microscopic scale is hardly detectable but macroscopic rust spots indicate W1.

Geochemistry: Type 6 lithology: olivine Fa27.7 (n=1), orthopyroxene Fs21.2Wo0.7 (n=1). Type 4 lithology: olivine Fa24.7 (n=1), orthopyroxene Fs20.2Wo2.1 (n=1).

Classification: in the L group is based on magnetic susceptibility and chondrule size. Petrography (SEM and reflected optical microscopy) indicates a L4-6 breccia.

Specimens: 22.6 g at CEREGE.

Writeup from MB 107:
Mercantour: name discredited.

Mercantour has been abolished as a meteorite name due to significant doubt about the  location and date of the find. As reported in Rochette et al. (2017), trace elements measurements (M. D’Orazio, UPisa) reveal a signature similar to that observed in meteorites found in hot deserts, with significant Ba and Sr enrichment. This meteorite is now called Nova 054.

[Editor's note, 3 July 2020: information submitted by L. Ferrière]
  • Rochette P., Gattacceca J., Laubenstein M. (2017) Finding meteorites on improbable grounds: the western Europe case. 80th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, held July 23-28, 2017 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. LPI Contribution No., 1987, id.6021 (link)
Data from:
  Table 0
  Line 0:
State/Prov/County:Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Origin or pseudonym:granitic moraine
Date:2014 Sept 25
Mass (g):203.4
Weathering grade:W1
Magnetic suscept.:4.70
Classifier:H. Pourkhorsandi, P. Rochette, CEREGE
Type spec mass (g):22.6
Type spec location:CEREGE
Main mass:with finder
Finder:Eric Paillery
Comments:Submitted by P. Rochette
   and collections
CEREGE: CEREGE BP 80 Avenue Philibert, Technopole de l'Arbois 13545 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 4 France, France (institutional address; updated 29 Oct 2018)
LPI: Lunar and Planetary Institute, 3600 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, TX 77058 , United States; Website (institutional address; updated 20 Jun 2022)
UPisa: Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Pisa, Italy (institutional address; updated 3 Aug 2010)
References: Published in Meteoritical Bulletin, no. 105, MAPS 52, 2411, September 2017. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/maps.12944/full
Published in Meteoritical Bulletin, no. 107, MAPS 55, 460-462
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