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SPS Seminar - The Winchcombe meteorite – a regolith breccia from a rubble-pile CM chondrite asteroid

Thursday, June 30, 2022 - 14:00 to 15:00

When:  Thursday 30th June at 14.00

Where:  Microsoft Teams - Online

Speaker:  Dr. Martin Suttle (OU)

Hosted by: Alexander Barrett


On February 28th 2021 at 9:54 pm a bright fireball blazed across the skies above the UK, moving west to east. Caught by 16 dedicated meteor observation cameras, thousands of domestic CCTV-style cameras and reported by numerous eyewitnesses, the fireball was national news by the next morning. The main mass of the now famous Winchcombe meteorite was recovered less than 12 hours after falling, having landed on the driveaway of a residential property in Gloucestershire. Within a week more than 600 g of meteorite had been recovered, including a 152 g fusion-crusted stone found on farmland on the 6th March 2021 by a dedicated meteorite hunting team. On the 3rd July 2021 the Winchcombe meteorite received official classification from the meteoritical bulletin, confirming its status as a CM chondrite and providing preliminary details of the meteorite’s geochemistry and petrography. Since this time a consortium effort has been working hard to learn more about this fascinating sample. Winchcombe is the first fall in the UK for 30 years and one of the most rapidly isolated meteorites from the terrestrial environment. Furthermore, Winchcombe is one of only five carbonaceous chondrites with a well-constrained pre-atmospheric orbit. The pristine nature of the sample (minimal terrestrial weathering) combined with its precise outer main belt origin make this meteorite the ideal candidate for investigating the geological history of the CM chondrite meteorites. In this talk I will provide an up-to-date overview of the Winchcombe meteorite and what we’ve learnt so far, exploring its incredible survival through the atmosphere, its chemical and isotopic composition and the geology of its parent asteroid.


Dr Martin D. Suttle is a Lecturer in Planetary Science at the Open University, within the School of Physical Sciences. He holds a PhD in Meteoritics and Planetary Science from Imperial College London and has previously worked as a research associate at the University of Pisa, Italy and a postdoc at the Natural History Museum, London. Martin’s work specialises in the microanalysis of extra-terrestrial materials (meteorites and micrometeorites). He focuses on water-rock interaction on asteroids and comets, aiming to better understand the role of water in the early solar system – asking how the abundance and availability of water differed across the protoplanetary disk, what impact water played in the alteration histories of different meteorite groups, and whether Earth’s water is derived from asteroids or comets.