Shoemaker Sample Collection

Science Center Objects

The USGS Shoemaker Collection consists of unique and irreplaceable geologic hand samples, rock powders, petrographic thin sections and billets, and associated documentation, from impact craters and terrestrial analog sites around the world. Current curation efforts are focused on data rescue, preservation, and inventory. All geologic materials are being relocated into appropriate long-term storage facilities and a detailed database is being constructed for use by the scientific community.

The USGS Shoemaker collection is composed of impact crater rocks from Meteor Crater (AZ), Flynn Creek Crater (TN), Sierra Madera Crater (TX), Steinheim Crater (Germany), and several craters in Australia. Of special interest to planetary science are nine bags of fallback ejecta from the Meteor Crater interior. Also in the collection are igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks from South Africa, Australia, the San Francisco Volcanic Field, the Colorado Plateau, and many other locations throughout the U.S.

The USGS Shoemaker Collection is an essential part of the legacy of Dr. Eugene Shoemaker, whose pioneering work in the 1960’s established the new field of astrogeology, including shock metamorphism studies, impact crater modeling, and stratigraphic relations on other planetary bodies. Among his many scientific accomplishments were the development of dating planetary surfaces using impact crater size distributions, training Apollo astronauts in geologic field methods at Meteor Crater, and co-discovering Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.

Curation of the USGS Shoemaker Collection is conducted at the USGS Flagstaff Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona where samples are given proper archival documentation and storage for future use by the scientific community. Currently 700 rock samples have been processed and are available to the scientific community for research purposes.