To be or not to be, that is the question: The Marsala meteorite (Italy, 1834) and the role of the doubtful meteorites in the history of meteoriticsOPEN ACCESS 

Annarita Franza, Marco Morelli, Daniela Faggi, Giovanni Pratesi

Meteoritics & Planetary Science
Version of Record online: 01 May 2021


“This work focuses on the historical and scientific investigation of a presumed meteorite fall that occurred in the Sicilian township of Marsala in 1834. Preliminary studies have classified this phenomenon as a “doubtful meteorite.” This term describes, according to the Nomenclature Committee of the Meteoritical Society, an object for which there was significant uncertainty over whether it was a real meteorite or, in some cases, whether it ever existed. Thanks to the analysis of untapped sources, the first objective of this work is to clarify the nature of the event. Subsequently, the results of the minero‐chemical analyses that were performed, in 1835, on two fragments recovered after the event are discussed for the first time. This work then shows the collecting history of one of the presumed meteorite specimens. Based on the results presented here, this work highlights the role of doubtful meteorites as a fundamental resource for the history of meteoritics and meteorite collecting as well as for studying the processes that have led to the scientific study of meteorites.”