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Old 11th February 2005, 03:04 PM   #31
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nechesh,

Don't be sorry, the fault is mine. I know that I seem to suggest that only meteorites make the Keris "special" but... I fully agree with you! Itís the pamor, and much, much more that makes the Keris so special. I was just referring to the one aspect that has been attached to the Keris... it's the pamor and meteorites that have separated the Keris from most weapons... which I believe is what started this thread.

Even not knowing the association with meteorites, who can gaze upon a wondrous Keris blade and not desire one? (I know the "bug" bit me bad!)
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Old 11th February 2005, 03:54 PM   #32
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Forgive me this question of ignorant European - how we can recognize meteoric iron or nickel on the blade?
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Old 11th February 2005, 05:35 PM   #33
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Aye wolviex, there's the rub!
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Old 11th February 2005, 05:41 PM   #34
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From the archives :
http://www.vikingsword.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001122.html
Maybe some questions are answered here .
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Old 11th February 2005, 10:36 PM   #35
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Default Great Thread!

Your amazing Rick!

That was a great thread. Kind of fun to watch the Ti learning curve, thought important and later on to fall apart as not true...

I am still interested in learn more on how to identify pamor made with meteorite... it was a bit vague. Other than touch, are there any pictures that may be helpful? ASU has an Electron Micro Probe that will do the trick, but they will only test meteorites.
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Old 11th February 2005, 11:11 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSMStar
Your amazing Rick!

That was a great thread. Kind of fun to watch the Ti learning curve, thought important and later on to fall apart as not true...

I am still interested in learn more on how to identify pamor made with meteorite... it was a bit vague. Other than touch, are there any pictures that may be helpful?


We have covered a lot of subjects in the last 7-8 years .
Forum Search is a great resource .

For pictures ???
Well ....................
there's always ebay , I see lots of examples there .

Last edited by Rick : 11th February 2005 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 12th February 2005, 03:31 AM   #37
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Default eBay as a research resource...

Rick,

I respect you opinion, but it seems everyone claims to have a meteorite pamor on eBay... do I trust them all as a resource? Please keep in mind, I would not know a real pamor Prambanan if it jumped up and bit me.
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Old 12th February 2005, 04:12 AM   #38
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Hey Wayne, i think that with a wink and a grin, Rick is only kidding. EBay shows us the worst of the "media hype" around meteoric keris pamor. Many people actually believe their own hype, some are deceivers, but the bottom line is that there are just not all that many prambanan pamors to be found out there.
On the question of how do we tell, i think the real experts have been very reserved on this issue. They will tell you, i suspect, i believe or it's possible this keris might have meteoric pamor, but if there is a sure way to tell, i have not heard of it.
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Old 12th February 2005, 03:10 PM   #39
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Yep !
I was kidding .

IMO if people who have spent many decades studying keris cannot ( or will not ) tell then what chance does the layman have of discerning the difference .
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Old 12th February 2005, 03:27 PM   #40
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My guess, based on the little I know of metallurgy, is that the only way you could conclusively identify meteoric material in a forged blade is by atomic analysis, which means cutting a piece off the blade and looking at elemental composition and the isotopic ratios of the elements present.

Even this wouldn't be conclusive, because I don't think an entire Kris would be made of meteoric iron, simply the lighter colored layers, and even these might have been amalgammated with terrestrial iron to make them workable.

I have no idea how much metal would be needed, but aside from cutting off the tip of the tang, I'm not sure how you would sample much without seriously damaging the blade. Nor am I sure how much it would cost. It's the kind of thing where I would go to a university geochemistry (or materials science) lab and have a long chat with a professor about departmental donations, papers, and the like. Someone might be receptive to testing a number of "meteoric" blades, if the money was there at the beginning and the opportunity to publish a paper appeared at the end....
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Old 12th February 2005, 03:43 PM   #41
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It sounds right what you write about the test, only a professor would probably love it if you can guarantee him that at least one of the blade is of meteoric iron Ė the problem is no one seems to be able to

Jens
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Old 12th February 2005, 04:14 PM   #42
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I think fearn hit the nail on the head. The only way to be positive would involve the distruction of the keris. Personally i'd rather just keep wondering. Is the keris beautiful, does it feel good in your hand, do you love it? Life needs to hold on to a few of it's mysteries to keep it interesting. Talk to the blade and it will tell you. Do you really need to prove it to anyone else?
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Old 13th February 2005, 03:54 AM   #43
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Default Electron Micro Probe...

I do not believe that the test has to be totally destructive. A small area can be "polished" and tested with an Electron Micro Probe... that will give you a chemical analysis good enough to determine cosmic origin. I really would not want to do it to my high end Keris. Also, the rub is getting it done.

Hey folks, I'm new. (Note to self... be slightly skeptical )

OK. That's what I basically understood from the thread Rick brought up and other comments. But as a pamor, is there a specific "pattern" to pamor Prambanan (like other pamors) or is it time for me to give up?
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Old 13th February 2005, 04:39 AM   #44
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Recently the work of the Polish metalurgist Prof. Jerzy Piaskowski has come to my attention. He has done considerable work in the analysis of keris structure. It is my understanding that even if you were to destroy a piece of a keris for analysis you would not be able to determine extra-terrestial origin after the materials have gone through the forging and welding process. Does anyone else know of any reputatable researcher who has actually worked on this subject that has a different answer to this question?
I find the concept of meteoric pamor to be very enticing like, i believe, most do. I certainly wouldn't mind owning a keris with such pamor. But i find the focus on this subject as relating to keris a bit troublesome. Why? So many reference books make mention of it, countless dealers lay claim to it in their keris. The facts as can best be sorted out is that meteoric pamor was used for a SELECT FEW keris beginning in the 19th century. So it was used for a relatively short period of time (100+yrs.) and even then it was far from the majority of keris being produced even in that century. It has done nothing to increase the artist level of keris making and though i can see why it might increase the spiritual value of a keris, this attribute of the blade did not begin nor end with the use of such a pamor material. I guess what i am driving at is that meteoric pamor is quite a bit over-valued as an aspect of keris study. It becomes a distraction of sorts. And unfortunately, unless it is a recently made blade that you had a part in the making of, or a court blade with considerable provenence (few and far between), one can never know for sure whether it's "star metal" or not.
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Old 13th February 2005, 10:10 AM   #45
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Wolviex wrote: Forgive me this question of ignorant European - how we can recognize meteoric iron or nickel on the blade?

From the discussion it seems as if we can't be sure, but I did somewhere read that some could feel a prickle in the fingers when toutching meteoric iron. This does however not give any garantee as you can't prove that the blade is made of meteoric iron - besides I think that a strongly magbetic blade could/would give the same feeling.

Jens
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Old 13th February 2005, 06:36 PM   #46
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nechesh,

Trace elements are a give away for cosmic origin... which is why chemical analysis is important. Yes... we can tell.

I find it troubling to use feel as a way to determine... since these blades are older and are likely to have been etched many times, where does the pattern or surface profile from etching fit in to this approach?

Is there no visually pattern reserved for this pamor?

Jens... I'm with you, more than a bit confussed.

I agree meteoritic pamor is not critical... but of historically importance and value.
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Old 13th February 2005, 07:39 PM   #47
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Wayne, i realize you are a scientist and when you refer to "yes...we can tell" i assume you are referring to the scientific community in general. I don't mean to challenge you on this point, but what are your experiences with metalurgy. I understand that you are a color chemist, which sounds really cool even if i don't know quite what you do, but does this qualify you to make this statement? Are you familar with Prof. Piaskowski's work? He has done years of study and compilation of data on this very subject and it is his belief, apparently, that you can not tell cosmic origin in keris metals that have been forged and welded. I know that scientists are apt to disagree, but until i hear research from another scientist who has actually tried to determine these factors with as many forged keris as Prof. Piaskowski has done i am inclined to lean towards his position on the matter, not being of the mind or abilities to do such research for myself.
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Old 13th February 2005, 08:24 PM   #48
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I think the study of the use of meteoric metal from scientific perspective is fascinating, and the discussion here with those of you expert in keris and Indonesian weapons is excellent!
While somewhat digressing from the scientific perspective, I am wondering if the references and descriptions applied to these blades in earlier narratives referring to 'meteoric steel' may have been intended aesthetically. It seems that in the glossaries of keris jargon there are terms that apply specifically to such blades.

In "The Sword in Anglo Saxon England" by H.R.Ellis Davidson , N.Y. 1962,
on p.22 the author notes, "...Forbes suggested that the damask patterns might have been inspired by meteorites, which are covered with a thin film of iron oxide and when forged at low temperatures produce a distant pattern".

*"Metallurgy in Antiquity" R.J.Forbes, Leiden, 1950

While acknowledging that there were actually blades forged with this extra terrestrial material included with regular materials, I am wondering if possibly the term 'meteoric' may refer to a certain pattern or appearance in pamor.

Concerning the empirical approach to examining these blades metallurgically, after being faithfully hooked on the television series C.S.I. and the compelling forensics dramas, I cannot imagine that extra terrestrial origins of certain components could not be discovered in the labratory!!!

I sure wouldnt want to volunteer one of my prize weapons though!!! That is if I DID have one of these beautiful keris!

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 13th February 2005, 08:43 PM   #49
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I hate to be the one to break it to you Jim, but if you ever talked to anyone who actually does CSI type work you would find out pretty quickly just how much of that show borders on science fiction.
As far as i know there are no elements present in meteoric pamor that can not be found on earth. I think any recognizable crystalline structure that would ID a metal as meteoric would be destryed through the forging and welding process. So what would be the clue that remains to ID such metals as being of cosmic origin?
You theory about the term being an aesthetic reference is interesting, but i think this is more a case of early writers misunderstandings and repetition of the mistakes of others. I don't think meteoric pamor is meant to refer to a particular pattern or design in the pamor.
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Old 13th February 2005, 09:08 PM   #50
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nechesh,

Thank you for keeping me honest. I have been out of that "community" for a long time... and I do not mean present my self as an "expert" to compete with any one, especially with Dr. Piaskowski. I mean "we" as the scientific community.

The Electron Micro Probe has been the main tool used in diagnosing meteorites for sometime now... just ask your friends who collect meteorites and send them in to Universities around the world for analysis. I use Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, AZ (Center for Meteorite Studies) because thatís where I went to school. Dr. Lewis also holds and analyzed many of the lunar samples gathered by NASA there at the Lab. I am sure Dr. Piaskowski is aware of this and the "EMP" techniques and data analysis. The question would be the sample (or how dilute the meteoritic material would be in a forged blade, then picking out parts per million of trace elements can be a challenge).

But the trace elements are a definite fingerprint for cosmic origin!

Jim,

You are right. There is no question about it. If there is enough meteoritic material, it can be detected. But like you... I would have second thoughts about testing for it too (even though it is not destructive, it creates a blemish).
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Old 13th February 2005, 09:55 PM   #51
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Adding to what BSM said, the "fingerprint" is in the ratios of isotopes of elements. Although all planets and asteroids (and meteorites) presumably originated at the beginning of the solar system, they contain different ratios of the isotopes of various elements.

A big reason for this is that earth has a molten core kept that way by radioactivity, whereas most asteroids are too small for this process. The molten core melts material, causing isotopes to fractionate. Lavas from different volcanoes are, to some degree, recognizable from their isotopic fingerprints (there was an article on this in Science News recently, if you want an accessible source). Also, radioactivity at the core might produce breakdown products from fissioning heavy elements...

To make a long story short, one can distinguish between a meteorite and a rock, simply on the basis of the isotopic fingerprint. A blade is another story.

I'm just guessing that Prof. Piaskowski can't distinguish meteoric iron in Keris blades either because a) he hasn't found a genuine one yet (this is a provenance question) and/or b) the meteoric iron is mixed with terrestrial iron and/or nickel in order to form one layer of the pamor. Since the earth is definitely not uniform in isotopic signatures, mixing metals could easily hide the partially extraterrestrial origin of some blade. A purely meteoric blade would be easy to identify, but one of mixed origin would be difficult.

For the whiskey and wine crowd on this board, this is analogous to the problem of identifying the parent materials in a blended whiskey or wine, based on taste.

And before Nechesh asks, I'm a professional ecologist. I don't deal with metal isotopic chemistry at all, but I'm familiar with isotopes of lighter elements.

Fearn
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Old 13th February 2005, 10:23 PM   #52
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fearn,

You make an old Geologist proud (OK, Iím not one any more). We didn't work with isotopes unless we were dating the material. Pure chemistry was enough, generally reported in oxides for non-metallic materials, for example :FeO, SiO2, MgO, Al2O3, Na2O, K2O, P2O5 and so on. But keep in mind the time frame... isotopes were not carrying the weight if importance as they may have today (I'm old or I feel that way).

nechesh,

You will have to forgive me, I have been in the Paint industry for 29 year now... meteorites and tektites are just a hobby now (just a few too many hobbies).
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Old 13th February 2005, 10:24 PM   #53
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Oh no!! next you'll tell me Jerry Springer is staged!!!

Just kidding. I know there isnt much reality in the media in general, I work for the airlines so I can totally relate!!

I appreciate the detailed explanations on these technical studies. These topics have always been pretty intimidating, and you guys make things much more understandable. Thanks!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 13th February 2005, 11:32 PM   #54
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Jim, i hate to tell you this, but not just Springer, professional wrestling too! When you're feeling stronger we'll have a talk about that Santa Claus guy.
Fearn, if i remember correctly, your 2nd suggestion for the difficulty in IDing meteoric material in keris is the one. If i'm not mistaken, this material must be mixed with terrestrial iron inorder to make use of it.
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Old 14th February 2005, 09:52 AM   #55
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This is what made me start the topic:
Arms and Jewellery of the Indian Mughuls, Lahor 1947, written by Abdul Aziz.
In the book he tells about Shah Jahangir, and about a falling meteor. The meteor fell around 10 April 1621 close to a village called Jalandhar. The meteor was dug up and presented to Shah Jahangir:
I ordered Master (Ustad) Daud to make a sword, a dagger and a knife out of it, and bring them to me. He represented that it would not stand below the hammer, and fell too pieces. I told him in that case to mix it with other iron and make use of it. As I had told him, he mixed three parts of lightening-iron and one of other iron, and having made two swords, one dagger, and one knife, brought them to me. From the mixing of other iron he had brought out its quality (watering). According to the manner of the excellent swords of Yaman and [the swords of] the South, it could be bent, and became straight again. I ordered him to test it in my presence. It cut very well, equal to true swords.
What Shah Jahangir means by saying 'a true sword' I don't know, but it is clear that meteoric iron had to be mixed, at least with the knowledge they had at the time.

So fearn, here we have a problem, as it seems as if you won't find a pure meteoric blade. From you posts, like with the posts of others, I more and more got the feeling, that you knew much more about the subject than most of us.
Thank you for taking your time to explain it to us - so far in a language which most of us can follow .
Nechesh, the above should answer your question as well.

Jens
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Old 14th February 2005, 03:31 PM   #56
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Hi Jens,
The event you are citing from the Aziz book is descibed almost verbatum in Pant (p.218), with the combining of three parts 'lightning iron' as the meteoric material is termed and one of other iron.

In the original post you noted that meteoric iron is discussed in other references in edged weapons blades, especially the keris, but not incidents or applications from India. In Pant, (p.218) he notes.
"...no special study of weapons made of meteoric iron has been made in India so far. However a sword at present in the Alwar Museum, Alwar (Rajasthan) is said to have been made of meteoric iron".
He also notes that in one of the early dealers here in the U.S. catalog, Robert Abels (Catalog #32, p.87, #700) there is an Indian sword with 21" meteoric blade. Despite the obvious scepticism, it would be interesting to see if these swords actually did have such blades. The one in the catalog obviously is long gone, Abels was dealing in the 60's and 70's, but possibly the museum example is still there.

A note concerning aesthetics : from Stone (p.664)
"...the most brilliant watering is in Malayan blades made by piling alternate layers of mild steel and an alloy of iron and nickel containing about 3% nickel.
These are welded and twisted in various ways and then etched with a mixture of lime jiuc and arsenous acid".
"..in the old blades the nickel alloy was meteoric iron, in some of the later ones it was Krupps nickel steel".

This it seems the nickel was one key ingredient for the pamor, and if the appearance was 'meteoric'..all the better. Since nickel is an earthly element it does seem it would be difficult to differentiate between the earthly matter and extraterrestrial.
Question: are there unidentified elements or minerals found only in extraterrestrial material, such as the rocks from mars or the moon?

Best regards,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 14th February 2005 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 14th February 2005, 03:54 PM   #57
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Hi Jim,

We have, in some of the earlier posts heard about how difficult it is to recognise meteoric iron, especially if it is mixed, so how Pant could come with a statement like that, about a blade he has never seen, I donít know. Maybe the museum in Alwar has such a sword, but here too the metal for the blade would be mixed. Should the museum have the sword, it is a question if they would let it be tested.
I know of the Pant book you quote from, but I donít have it, so I did not know what he wrote on the subject.

Jens
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Old 14th February 2005, 05:39 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
This it seems the nickel was one key ingredient for the pamor, and if the appearance was 'meteoric'..all the better. Since nickel is an earthly element it does seem it would be difficult to differentiate between the earthly matter and extraterrestrial.
Question: are there unidentified elements or minerals found only in extraterrestrial material, such as the rocks from mars or the moon?

Best regards,
Jim


Hi Jim,

You will find there are no "unearthly" elements in meteorites. What sets them appart is the "chemical mix" in which they were formed (and the physical conditions of formation as well).

If you were to see a meteorite sitting on the ground for any time at all, you may very well pass it up as a common rock (I am including all meteorite types). As you may have noticed that all of the meteorites mentioned in this thread that were used as sword making material, were witnessed falls. The cosmic connection was made becaused of an observed event. If they had not been observed, even if some kind of crater forming event occured... I think someone would have scrached their head and not reconize the interesting stones laying there as being from above. I believe this is apart of the issue at hand. By simple observation, how do we tell if a Keris or sword contains meteoric iron.

For me, I do not need meteoric iron to make a cosmic connection, take a look around you... everything you see, the elements that make us and everything around us were forged in a star.

I have seen some of the Gibeon meteorites that had simply been hammered into shape to make a spear... and when polished and acid etched, still showed the Widmanstatten structure, meaning it had not been forged or heated to any large degree or it would have destroyed this internal crystal structure. I am not an expert... so correct me if I am wrong, it maybe that the finer crystal structural octahedrites (vs. medium and coarse) may be more malleable (Gibeon is a fine octahedrite type IVA)?

If the meteorite in India would not stand below the hammer, and fell too pieces, then it was the "luck of the fall" or is it draw?
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Old 14th February 2005, 05:48 PM   #59
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Hi Jens,
You are right, the statements and comments that Pant has presented concerning the study of meteoric iron in India are simply presented as a point of reference, not necessarily conclusive. It would be difficult for him to prove that absolutely no study of any kind has been made on this topic in India, however we would presume that such published material was limited as not readily found. Therefore, the subject of meteoric iron in India is clearly not much discussed. As for the swords he has cited, the one in the museum he is apparantly relaying the caption with the weapon in the museum. ...we could only hope the weapon has some sort of provenance or historical data that would explain the 'meteoric' label.
As for the item listed in the Abels catalog, I would hardly consider a sales catalog used for reference in an academic discussion so again, that was simply an example cited which would just as well have been left out it just seemed interesting to note.

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 14th February 2005, 05:53 PM   #60
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BSM,
Thank you so much!!! Beautifully explained!!!
This stuff gets more and more fascinating!!!
All the best,
Jim
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