Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

ALH 84001

  • Jean-Pierre de Vera
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_49-4



ALH 84001 (abbreviation of Allan Hills 84001) is a 1.93 kg meteorite found in 1984 on the Allan Hills ice field, Antarctica (Victoria Land), by US meteorite searchers. ALH 84001 has been classified as achondrite and is thought to be from Mars. It mainly consists of coarse-grained cataclastic orthpyroxene-rich material and among the SNC meteorites defines the class of SNC-orthopyroxenites. In 1996, NASA scientists announced that the meteorite might contain fossils of Martian microorganisms, a view that has been widely criticized. Radiometric dating suggests that ALH 84001 is 4.1 billion years old. The piece of rock has been ejected from Mars by an impact event 15 million years ago. Thirteen thousand years ago, the meteorite landed on Earth.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DLRInstitut für PlanetenforschungBerlinGermany