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Meteorites and their Parent Planets Hardcover – 13 Feb 1999

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (13 Feb. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521583039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521583039
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,660,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Meteorites and Their Parent Planets provides an engrossing overview of a highly interdisciplinary field - the study of extraterrestrial materials. The second edition of this successful book has been thoroughly revised, and describes the nature of meteorites, where they come from, and how they get to Earth … Harry McSween's writing is accessible to scientists and non-scientists alike … This book gives the reader a clear understanding of the fundamentals of a complex subject. The softback is good value and the book should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the origin and evolution of the Solar System.' R. L. S. Taylor, Spaceflight

'Harry McSween's writing is accessible to scientists and non-scientists alike … the book should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in the origin and evolution of the Solar System.' R. L. S. Taylor, Spaceflight

' … an excellent intorduction to meteoritics for those Earth Scientists who have an interest in but not a specialist knowledge of the subject.' Allan Pring, Geological Magazine

' … a very interesting read and is a welcome addition to my bookshelf … generally the text is explanatory and written so that someone with a general interest can follow it quite easily. On the other hand, there seems to be sufficient technical backup to make the book a useful reference tool for those a little more experienced in the subject … All in all a very good interesting book, particularly for pure geologists. It would, I think be of general interest to all Geoscientists.' Geoscientist

'The first edition provided one of the initial sparks to my interest in meteorites, and this new book is no less inspiring. This book is up to date, broad in focus, and confidently written by an author with a deep understanding of his subject. It is a must for the bookshelf of every planetary scientist, as well as being of interest to students and scientists from other disciplines. The easy writing style would also make it an enjoyable read for an interested amateur or bright teenager.' Sara Russell, The Observatory

Book Description

This second edition of a highly successful book has been thoroughly revised, and describes the nature of meteorites, where they come from, and how they get to Earth. The first edition was immensely popular with meteorite collectors, scientists and science students in many fields, and amateur astronomers. Everyone with an interest in meteorites will want a copy of this book.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Just before noon on November 7, 1492, a huge triangular stone hurtled out of the sky, crashing into a wheat field outside the walled city of Ensisheim in Alsace (now France). Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 July 2001
Format: Paperback
If you are searching for a book which gives a lot of timely, detailed, but easy to follow explanations on types, compositions and origins of meteorites, as well as major research methods in the field of meteoritics, this is the one to buy. The text is within the grasp of an interested layperson, even with little background in geology and/or physics or astronomy, and a delightfull read. When it comes to factual correctness and thoroughness of descriptions of meteorite types and origins and major research methods, this book is far superior to the more well known "Rocks from Space" by Norton. The (short) historic outline in the introductory chapter however is a bit meagre and "thirteen in a dozen". The following chapters by far make up for that however. After reading this book, you'll know all a non-professional needs to know to have a basic and actually quite detailed understanding of the many types and subtypes of meteorites, their classification, and their parent bodies. Well illustrated, and well written. I can recommend it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating - I was amazed at the power of geochemistry 23 Sept. 1999
By A Geology Teacher - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm a geologist who loves to find good summaries of geology / planetary science topics, and "Meteorites and their Parent Planets" is one of the best I've found. While I've always been more interested in "geometric" topics like structural geology, McSween's book made geochemistry and cosmochemistry come alive like I'd never imagined. He weaves a fascinating tale of the amazing deductions that have been made from analyses of meteorites. "Compositional" sciences like petrology and geochemistry used to make my eyes glaze over, but now I think that if I had it to do over again, I might go into geochemistry or meteoritics! I look forward to reading McSween's other books.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The ultimate meteorite book. 16 Sept. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Meteorites are amazing. Most people don't realize how much of what we know about the earth and solar system is based on the study of meteorites. McSween is a scientist and this book is technical but is well written and understandable to a layman with a reasonable scientific background. He covers topics from the earliest history of recorded meteorite falls to the chemistry of these objects. With the exception of martian microbes and armegeddon, meteoritics is largely ignored by the lay press. This book weaves tales of ancient asteroid impacts and planets long ago destroyed. The progression of the book is logical, and along the way, the author stops to explain how tests such as spectrophotometry and radioactive dating work. If you're the type who wants to know "how did they figure that out?" this book is for you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding resource 9 Mar. 2007
By Joseph Hilbe - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I both collect meteorites and give talks about them throughout the U.S. I am always looking for good books on meteorites that I can recommend to those who attend my presentations. Norton's books, as well as McSween's, are the best. It's chock full of very interesting information that has been abstracted from research journals and put into language that non-specialists can understand. It's by no means a beginners book, but one that you'd want to read after the more superficial ones.

The main theme is, of course, identifying the parent planets and asteroids for the classifications of meteorite. McSween provides his readers with the most up-to-date information, by 1999 standards, and when there is no agreement, he offers us his best opinion.

The book is organized by first providing a good overview of meteoronics in general. Then he addresses chondrites in Chapter 2, followed by a chapter related to possible parent bodies for the chondrites discussed. Ch 4 and 5 do the same for achondrites, and Chs 6 and 7 for Irons and Stony-Irons. The final two chapters get into subjects such as the geography of teh asteroidal belt and Kirkwood gaps, resonance, fractionations, and so forth -- this is the discussion that will interest those who have been involved with meteors for awhile.

I highly recommend the book and hope that he updates it in the near future. It has a 1999 date -- 8 years ago from this review. I'd love to read a third edition.
A very good, but technical review of the current knowledge of meteorites 15 Jun. 2014
By dan greeman - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book, well chaptered and logically flowing. I found only one instance of an incorrect assumption, but to the average reader (anyone who does not posses a Ph.D. in meteoritics), it is a good place to start. The quality of the black and white plates is rather poor, unfortunately. This book will be unaccessible to those without prior knowledge of geology or chemistry. A great read for science-oriented geeks.
A great reference book 27 Feb. 2014
By shootn'scoot - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a text book in a master's class I'm taking. The writing is excellent. One drawback is the pictures are mediocre.
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