Non-destructive determination of the physical properties of Antarctic meteorites: 2 Importance for the meteorite – parent body connection

Thomas Harvey, Jane MacArthur, Katherine Joy, Daniel Sykes, N. V. Almeida, R. H Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photogrammetry is a low-cost, non-destructive approach for producing 3D models of meteorites for the purpose of determining sample bulk density. Coupled with the use of a non-destructive magnetic susceptibility / electrical conductivity field probe, we present measurements for the interrogation of several physical properties, on a set of Antarctic meteorites. Photogrammetry is an effective technique over a range of sample sizes, with meteorite bulk density results that are closely comparable with literature values, determined using Archimedean glass bead or laser scanning techniques. The technique is completely non-contaminating and suitable for the analysis of rare or fragile samples, although there are limitations for analyzing reflective samples. It is also flexible, and with variations in equipment set-up, may be appropriate for samples of a wide range of sizes. X-ray computed tomography analyses of the same meteorite samples yielded slightly different bulk density results, predominantly for samples below 10 g, although the reason for this is unclear. Such analyses are expensive and potentially damaging to certain features of the sample (e.g., organic compounds), but may be useful in expanding the measurements to accommodate an understanding of internal voids within the sample, lending itself to measurement of grain density. Measurements of bulk density are valuable for comparisons with estimates of the bulk densities of asteroids that are suggested as meteorite parent bodies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Oct 2023


  • Physical properties
  • meteorite
  • asteroid
  • parent body
  • photogrammetry
  • 3D model


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