Cover image for Meteorites and their parent planets
Meteorites and their parent planets
McSween, Harry Y.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 310 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QB755 .M465 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Meteorites and Their Parent Planets provides an engrossing overview of a highly interdisciplinary field - the study of extraterrestrial materials. The second edition of this successful book has been thoroughly revised, and describes the nature of meteorites, where they come from, and how they get to Earth. Meteorites offer important insights into processes in stars and in interstellar regions, the birth of our solar system, the formation and evolution of planets and smaller bodies, and the origin of life. The first edition was immensely popular with meteorite collectors, scientists and science students in many fields, and amateur astronomers. In this second edition all of the illustrations have been updated and improved, many sections have been expanded and modified based on discoveries in the last decade, and a new final chapter on the importance of meteorites has been added. Everyone with an interest in meteorites will want a copy of this book.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Written from the viewpoint of a geochemist, this book relates meteorites to the essentially geologic processes that they must have experienced in parent bodies. An introductory chapter gives a brief overview of meteorites and their basic characteristics, their passage from space to the surface of the earth, and their recovery for scientific study. The six succeeding chapters are arranged in doublets tied to the main classes of meteorites. First, the characteristics of meteorites of each type are described in some detail, then the implications for processes that must have occurred in the parent body to produce meteorites with the observed properties are set out. The last chapter deals with phenomena in the asteroid belt and the events that deliver meteoroids to the earth's vicinity. Compositional and petrologic characteristics of meteorites are covered in some detail, but explanations are fairly lucid. The discussion of astrophysical aspects of the formation processes of the early solar system and eventual delivery of meteorites to the surface of the earth reflects considerable na\vete. Most suggested supplementary reading is fairly technical. There are an appendix of minerals and a glossary. Could make useful supplementary reading for geosciences students, but R.T. Dodd's Thunderstones and Shooting Stars (CH, Jan '87) is a better balanced and more reliable introduction to the study of meteorites for a general audience.-E. Roemer, University of Arizona

Table of Contents

1 Introduction to meteorites
2 Chondrites
3 Chondrite parent bodies
4 Achondrites
5 Achondrite parent bodies
6 Iron and stony-iron meteorites
7 Iron and stony-iron parent bodies
8 A space odyssey
9 The importance of meteorites: some examples
Appendix of minerals