African Meteorites

Meteorites of Northwest Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Mali, Mauritania

Author(s): Lahcen Ouknine*, Fouad Khiri and Abderrahmane Ibhi

Pp: 89-112 (24)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815136296123010008

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The number of meteorite finds in Northwest of Africa (NWA), i.e., Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and Mali have recorded a considerable increase since 1999. However, the classification of these meteorites is done by the Meteorite Nomenclature Committee of the “Meteoritical Society”, only attributes 8% of the total finds of this region to their specific country of origin, and leaves 92% of them under the mere appellation “NWA” (Northwest Africa) followed by a number. This work attempts to contextualize the 5678 finds of NWA meteorites by defining the circumstances of the find of every sample, according to the new Categorization of Finds and the new Guidelines for Meteorite Nomenclature adopted by the Meteorite Nomenclature Committee. Thus, in addition to the 1180 official NWA meteorites whose countries of find are approved by the Nomenclature Committee, 3240 meteorites are assigned to 4 countries of North-West Africa, i.e., 2994 samples (92%) to Morocco, 79 samples (2.5%) to Algeria, 34 samples (1.1%) to Mauritania and 12 samples (0.1%) to Mali. Nevertheless, the remaining NWA meteorites (1267 samples) have no information indicating the country of finding. After the adoption of the naming “NWA”, we notice a remarkable decrease in the number of meteorites bearing the names of official places versus a considerable increase in the number of NWA meteorites. On the other hand, the statistical analysis of NWA meteorites reveals that the population includes rare specimens of great scientific value, making them highly desired by both scientists and collectors from all over the world. In general, this work results in the creation of a new database of meteorites stemming from the Northwest of Africa.

Keywords: Classification, New database, NWA meteorite finds, Renaiming, Statistics.

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