INAA - Analysis for Suspected Iron Meteorites

INAA - Analysis for Suspected Iron Meteorites

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Instrument Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA), is used for suspected meteorites that are completely metallic. CCMS will use INAA to measure the Wt% for Cr, Co, Ni, Cu, Ga, Ge, As, Sb, W, Re, Ir, Pt, Au. 

*If the sample is highly metallic, such as with pallasites, mesosiderites and many primitive achondrites, but still has some rocky or silicate material, then the EPMA option is probably sufficient.



 What you need to do: provide CCMS with an approximately 30 gram (or larger) representative sample from the main mass of the suspected meteorite.

*After checkout, you will be sent an email with instructions for submitting your sample. Please note that samples will not be returned. 

**IMPORTANT - you must provide a working email address, as this is the only way CCMS will be able to communicate with you regarding the status of your submission(s). Unfortunately the Colorado Center for Meteoritic Studies does not have the resources to discuss sample status over the phone. It is therefor critical that you provide CCMS with a valid email and update your email with CCMS should it change during the course of the analysis process.



What CCMS does: we will prepare the sample, perform INNA analysis to determine specific elemental ratios to establish if the sample is an iron meteorite or not, and if it is an iron meteorite, exactly what class of iron meteorite it is.

Summary of Standard Analysis & Classification Service

  • Sample Prep - INNA sample prep for maximum surface area

  • Type Donation Processing & Management - According to the rules set forth by the Meteoritical Society, 20 grams or 20% of the total known weight of the specimens (TKW), whichever is less, must be donated to an approved repository in order to receive an official name, and have it published in the Meteoritical Bulletin. CCMS will verify, approve, and transfer the Type Donation to the Cascadia repository, or another Meteoritical Society approved repository.

  • INNA Analysis - Elemental analysis of sample using neutron activation as prescribed by the classifying researcher and the INNA lab manager. 

  • Classification - Initial determination establishing if the sample is an iron meteorite or not. If the sample is determined to be an iron meteorite, CCMS will use the INAA data to determine the exactly classification of iron meteorite.

  • Write-up & Submission - If sample is a meteorite, CCMS will synthesize the analysis data into an accurate, well formed, and defensible classification writeup for inclusion and submission to the Nomenclature Committee for approval, official name or DCA number, and publication in the Meteoritical Bulletin.

  • Report - A customized digital summary / report with USB archive of all assets associated with the sample, analysis, and classification.

There are times when it may be necessary to perform oxygen isotopic analysis, Raman, or additional microprobe analysis, in addition to the INAA analysis.

CCMS requires all iron sample submissions slated for classification and submission to Nomenclature Committee for official name and publication in the Meteoritical Bulletin, undergo INAA analysis. In most cases this is sufficient.