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December 2011 Guest Speaker Announced

The Arkansas Oklahoma Astronomical Society is proud to announce our program for the AOAS Annual Holiday Dinner Meeting for 2011!



  
Robert Beauford
  
Craters of the Ozark Plateaus
by Robert Beauford

  
On Earth, where only 178 confirmed examples are known, meteorite impact craters are rarities. For nearly every other rocky body in the solar system, however, they are the predominant surfacing mechanism, defining both general morphology and surface rock lithology. No other features on the Earth’s surface can provide us with the insights into our solar system that these few locations offer.

Most of what we know about space science comes from some form of remote sensing or remote analysis. Alongside meteorites, terrestrial hypervelocity impact craters are part of an extremely short list of exceptions to this rule. They are places where we can see and touch, right here on earth, examples of the same processes we are viewing ‘out there.’

Twelve meteorite impact craters are located in the southern and south-central United States. Three of these, Decaturville, Crooked Creek, and Weaubleau are located within a 125 mile stretch of terrain in the center of the Ozarks in Missouri. The Decaturville Crater played a significant role in the historical process of recognizing the presence of meteorite impact craters on earth and in distinguishing these craters from similar structures of volcanic origin. NASA studied the location in the late 60s in order to better understand craters on the Moon. The Crooked Creek crater is one of North America’s longest recognized but least studied impacts, and the Weaubleau structure is one of the most recently discovered, and is still undergoing the confirmation process. All three offer researchers a remarkable opportunity to visit extraordinarily well preserved terrestrial analogs for our future studies of off-planet impact sites.

Robert Beauford, is a graduate student in the PhD program of the Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and the Co-Editor of Meteorite Magazine, the International Quarterly Magazine for Meteorites and Meteorite Research. Robert's extensive background in meteorite impact research and passion for mineralogy, lapidary, archaeology, and paleontology makes him an interesting individual and a welcome guest. His presentation should be both interesting and very well received.



Remember, this meeting is also the one where we hold our annual Officer Elections, choosing those who will lead us and serve the AOAS membership for the coming year. Positions open for nominations this year are: President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. And, once again, this meeting is preceded by a potluck dinner with a holiday theme. The club is providing the main meat course, so please bring a side dish and/or a dessert, and your favorite non-alcoholic beverages. Dinner starts at 6:30 PM and the main meeting starts at 7:30 PM, December 2 at the Fort Smith Riverpark Event Center - West. Click the link for directions.

Come and enjoy some warm holiday fellowship, fare, and fun with us!
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