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Meteorites, Ice and Antarctica: A Personal Account

Biography / Memoir

By: William A Cassidy

349 pages, B/w photos, figs, tabs

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jul 2003 | #136809 | ISBN: 0521258723
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NHBS Price: £44.99 $55/€50 approx

About this book

Bill Cassidy was the founder of the U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites project (ANSMET), and led meteorite recovery expeditions in Antarctica from 1976-1993. His searches have resulted in the collection of thousands of meteorite specimens from the ice. This fascinating story is a firsthand account of his field experiences on the ANSMET project. Cassidy describes this successful field program and its influence on our understanding of the moon, Mars and the asteroid belt. In the final chapters he speculates on the results of the trips and the future research they might lead to.

Advance praise: 'The surface of Antarctica is almost all ice, so anything on that surface must have arrived there somehow - either pushed up by a glacier, fallen off a mountain, or dropped from the heavens ! It's the stunning simplicity that makes this book fascinating, and gives the reader the feeling of being there - in the icy tent, on the crunching snow, under the howling gales ! Mr Cassidy's relaxed anecdotal view of Antarctic hardships and his wry humor about his colleagues - many of whom could be models of the Nutty Professor - reveal a profound love for his profession, and the skill of a writer of clear, refreshing, unpretentious prose.' Sunday Times (Washington) 'Letting the reader into a scientist's mind, Cassidy takes an experiment from the beginning to the end, interprets his results, and teaches much more than science along the way.' Sky & Telescope 'Cassidy provides an exciting picture of what it's like to be a meteorite hunter on the world's cruelest content !'. Natural History 'In Meteorites, Ice, and Antarctica: A Personal Account, Bill Cassidy colorfully recounts his adventures as the founder of ANSMET and its leader over the course of 15 field seasons ! the story of how thousands of meteorite specimens came to lie in the world's scientific collections through diligent recovery efforts in the Antarctic is a compelling one, one that warranted telling. and Cassidy, arguably the initiator of this grand enterprise, is the best person to tell it.' Science 'His many anecdotes about Antarctica, meteorites, and life, left me at times literally crying with laughter.' Antarctic Science 'I wish I'd had this book to read when I was sat in my bright orange Scott tent out on the chilly heights of the Antarctic Plateau ! Meteorites, Ice, and Antarctica is a lovely blend of science and personal stories that covers the remarkable feat of organizing a yearly two month expedition in deep field camp in Antarctica ! he has captured the essence of the expedition from the scientific goals and objectives, to the incredible personal experience of living and working in the harshest environment this planet has to offer. If you have any sort of passing interest in meteorites or the Antarctic then this book will please you ! there is plenty to fascinate.' Earth, Moon and Planets 'There is much in this book for both the specialist and the general reader ! The book is a must for anyone interested in geological aspects of planetary science.' The Open University Geological Society Journal 'Experience gained from an expedition to Antarctica includes a polar voyage that will delight the most ambitious traveler with a glimpse of a wilderness virtually untouched by humans.' Environmental Geology


Part I. Setting the Stage: 1. Antarctica and the National Science Foundation; 2. How the project began; 3. The first three years; 4. Later years of the ANSMET Program; 5. Alone (or in small groups). Part II. ANSMET Pays Off: Field Results and Their Consequences: 6. Mars on the ice; 7. Meteorites from the Moon; 8. How, and where in the Solar System?; Part III. Has It Been Worthwhile?: 9. Evaluating the collection - and speculating on its significance; 10. Meteorite stranding surfaces and the ice sheet; 11. The future: what is, is; but what will be, might not.

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Bill Cassidy was the founder of the U.S. Antarctic Search for Meteorites project (ANSMET), and led meteorite recovery expeditions in Antarctica from 1976-1993. He received the Antarctic Service Medal of the United States in 1979, in recognition of his successful field work on the continent. His name is found attached to a mineral (cassidyite), on the map of Antarctica (Cassidy Glacier) and in the Catalogue of Asteroids (3382 Cassidy). He is currently Emeritus Professor of Geology and Planetary Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

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