View all text of Part 674 [§ 674.1 - § 674.7]

§ 674.5 - Requirements for collection, handling, documentation, and curation of Antarctic meteorites.

(a) Any person organizing an expedition to or within Antarctica, where one of the purposes of the expedition is to collect meteorites in Antarctica, shall ensure that the meteorites will be properly collected, documented, handled, and curated to preserve their scientific value. Curation includes making specimens available to bona fide scientific researchers on a timely basis, in accordance with specified procedures.

(b) Expedition organizers described in paragraph (a) of this section shall develop and implement written procedures for the collection, documentation, and curation of specimens which include the following components:

(1) Handling requirements. Handling procedures shall ensure that the specimens are properly labeled and handled to minimize the potential for contamination from the point of collection to the point of curation. At a minimum, handling procedures shall include:

(i) Handling the samples with clean Teflon or polyethylene coated implements or stainless steel implements (or equivalent);

(ii) Double bagging of samples in Teflon or polyethylene (or equivalent) bags;

(iii) A unique sample identifier included with the sample;

(iv) Keeping the samples frozen at or below −15 °C until opened and thawed in a clean laboratory setting at the curation facility; and

(v) Thawing in a clean, dry, non-reactive gas environment, such as nitrogen or argon.

(2) Sample documentation. Documentation for each specimen, that includes, at a minimum:

(i) A unique identifier for the sample;

(ii) The date of find;

(iii) The date of collection (if different from date of find);

(iv) The latitude and longitude to within 500 meters of the location of the find and the name of the nearest named geographical feature;

(v) The name, organizational affiliation, and address of the finder or the expedition organizer;

(vi) A physical description of the specimen and of the location of the find; and

(vii) Any observations of the collection activity, such as potential contamination of the specimen.

(3) Curation. Make prior arrangements to ensure that any specimens collected in Antarctica will be maintained in a curatorial facility that will:

(i) Preserve the specimens in a manner that precludes chemical or physical degradation;

(ii) Produce an authoritative classification for meteorites that can be shown to belong to a well-established chemical and petrological group, and provide appropriate descriptions for those meteorites that cannot be shown to belong to an established chemical and petrological group;

(iii) Develop and maintain curatorial records associated with the meteorites including collection information, authoritative classification, total known mass, information about handling and sample preparation activities that have been performed on the meteorite, and sub-sample information;

(iv) Submit an appropriate summary of information about the meteorites to the Antarctic Master Directory via the National Antarctic Data Coordination Center as soon as possible, but no later than two years after receipt of samples at the curatorial facility;

(v) Submit information on classification of the meteorite to an internationally recognized meteorite research catalog, such as the “Catalogue of Meteorites” published by the Natural History Museum of London or the “Meteoritical Bulletin” published by the Meteoritical Society;

(vi) Specify procedures by which requests for samples by bonafide scientific researchers will be handled;

(vii) Make samples available to bonafide scientific researchers at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable period of time; and

(viii) In the event that the initial curatorial facility is no longer in a position to provide curation services for the specimens, or believes that the meteorites no longer merit curation, it shall consult with the National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs to identify another appropriate curatorial facility, or to determine another appropriate arrangement.