Monday, November 15, 2010

What is Chladni's "Catalogue" of Meteorites?

There are really two answers to this question, which became apparent after I had the opportunity to exchange emails with a few people following my November 1 comment on the Lucas meteorite catalogue.

As noted by Dr. Svend Buhl, E. F. F. Chladni prepared a catalogue of his own personal meteorite collection in 1825.  The catalogue appeared in Kastner's Archiv fuer die gesamte Naturlehre IV (1825), 200-240, and has the title 'Chladni's Beschreibung seiner Sammlung von Himmel herabgefallener Massen', which is translated as 'Chladni's description of his collection of masses fallen from the sky'.  According to Dr. Buhl, Chladni went beyond issuing a basic catalogue, which contains sample names and weights, by comparing his personal samples to specimens he observed in other collections. 
Dr. Renaud Mathieu pointed out some references to Chladni’s meteorite collection.  Marvin stated that it included 31 stones, 9 irons and 2 stony irons.  See U. B. Marvin,  ‘Ernst florens Friedrich Chladni (1756-1827) and the origins of modern meteorite research’, Meteoritics 31, (1996), 545-588 (585).  According to Burke, 31 stones and 10 irons were obtained by the Berlin collection when Chladni died in 1827.  The acquisition  represented 18 new localities for Berlin, and according to Dr. Mathieu, 34 samples are still extant.  See J. G. Burke, Cosmic debris: Meteorites in history (1986), 184 and the link to the collection of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 

But there is one caveat that I noted.  The 1825 catalogue is not a stand-alone work.  I have researched the Mooresfort and Limerick falls quite extensively, and Sir Charles Giesecke gave Chladni samples of each, yet the Kastner version does not mention the source of these samples.  One has to refer to E. F. F. Chladni,  Über feuer-meteore, und über die mit denselben herabgefallenen massen, (Vienna, J.G. Heubner, 1819) to determine where Chladni obtained his samples.  Chaldni does, however, reference his previous works in the Kastner catalogue. 

So if one wants a fuller picture of Chladn’s collection, his previous work must be consulted.

The link to the Chladni’s catalogue in Kastner is available on Google Books at the following link:

And the second answer to the question “what is Chaldni’s meteorite catalogue”?  Be sure to check the next post!


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