Meteorite Lecture!

Meteorites – Campus talks were on Apr-21, 2017 co-sponsored by the

Texas Tech Geoscience Society and the Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society.

The Texas Tech Geoscience Society and the Lubbock Gem and Mineral Society brought Dr. T. David Burleigh to Lubbock on April 21st to speak about meteorites. At 4:30 there was be a more academic seminar/talk describing the metallurgy of meteorites, and at 7:30 there was be a more general talk describing the types of meteorites, and their impact on mankind. Both talks were be in the Senate room of the Student Union at Texas Tech with free admission, and both talks were open to the public.

T. David Burleigh is a Professor of Materials & Metallurgical Engineering at New Mexico Tech. He earned both his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from M.I.T. in Metallurgy, and is a registered Professional Engineer in Metallurgy in New Mexico. Two decades ago he developed a fascination with meteorites, especially the iron-nickel ones. For years, Dr. Burleigh has shared his passion by giving public talks on meteorites. Dr. Burleigh brought several meteorites to his talks. The public was invited to bring materials they suspect may be a meteorite, and Dr. Burleigh gave his opinion.

Burleigh discussed the impact of meteorites on society and history and the use of iron from meteorites.

Asteroids become meteors when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere and begin burning. If the meteor does not completely burn up in the earth’s atmosphere, the portion that hits the planet is called a meteorite. Meteorites can do a lot of damage. For example, the newly commissioned Magdalena Ridge Observatory spends part of its time tracking and studying asteroids, and deciding if they are on a path to hit the earth.

What's the impact of meteorites on mankind? "They hurt like crazy," Burleigh said. "Seriously though, the Chicxulub meteorite which struck Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is credited with the extinction of dinosaurs. So we might not be around if it weren't for a meteorite."

Also of interest, the Kabbah, one of the holiest places for Muslims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has a cornerstone made from a meteorite. In the Bible, Moses speaks of a land where the stones are iron. Also, meteorites are the original source of iron, a metal that has had a significant impact on human history.