Meteorites

Battle Mountain

August's Meteorite of the Month is Battle Mountain, an ordinary (L6) chondrite that fell in Humbolt County, Nevada, August 22 of 2012.

According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB101):

The fall was observed in weather radar imagery from the US NEXRAD radar network, operated by the US National Weather Service.  The discovery and analysis was done by Dr. Marc Fries, Galactic Analytics LLC. The KLRX radar in Elko, Nevada, is approximately 33 km from the fall site and recorded the fall in eight radar sweeps between 0619.26 UTC and 0621.03 UTC. This time span of 97 s is short compared to other meteorite falls observed by radar. This could be a result of meteorite production by a single, large breakup event, by relatively little fragmentation, or a combination of the two factors.  The first stone was found on September 1, 2012, 10:50 AM (PDT) by Robert Verish; it weighs 19.25 g. As of 3 Oct 2012, at least 23 stones with a total mass of ~2.9 kg have been reported.

 

Albareto

July's Meteorite of the Month is Albareto, an ordinary (L/LL4) chondrite that fell in northern Italy in July of 1766.

The meteorite's fall was widely witnessed, as it occurred in the middle of the day, and accounts describe the stone impacting with such force that the ground shook and a cow was knocked off its feet. The 2 kg stone was recovered from a crater approximately a meter deep.

The fall of the Albareto meteorite was very well documented by the Abbé Domenico Troili in a short book published later that year: About the Fall of a Stone from the Air, Explanation, Dedicated to Their Most Serene Highnesses of Modena.

Photo:  Mossimo Barbieri. Il frammento della Meteorite di Albareto caduta del luglio 1786 conservato presso il Museo del Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra di Modena Gemma 1786.

In their 2002 paper Domenico Troili (1766): "The true cause of the fall of a stone in Albareto is a subterranean explosion that hurled the stone skyward", Ursula Marvin and Mario Cosmo discuss the Albareto meteorite fall, as well as the place of Troili's publication in the history of meteoritics:

In mid-July, 1766, a stone fell at Villa Albareto near Modena in northern Italy. A sudden explosion like a cannon shot follwed by fierce whistling sounds frightened people over a wide area.  Some saw a fiery body falling from the sky; others said it was dark and smoky.  The ground shook when the stone plunged into the soil making a hole nearly a meter deep.  The Abbé Domenico Troili collected eyewitness reports, examined the stone, and reported the presence of marchesita, and old name for pyrite.  A century later, this mineral, which proved to be iron sulfide (FeS), was named "troilite" in his honor.  Troili's description is unquestionaby that of a meteorite fall, and therefore some scientists have argued that it is Troili, rather than Ernst F. F. Chladni, to whom we should give credit as the first person to record the fall of a stone from space.  However, Troili, himself, had no such idea; he wrote that a subterranean explosion had hurled the stone high into the sky from a vent in the Earth.

Utrecht

Utrecht is an (L6) ordinary chondrite that fell June 2nd, 1843, in the Netherlands.

The meteorite’s spectacular fall was described by Dr. E.H. Baumhauer (Annalen der Physik 142(12):465-506).  Three to four explosions, compared to loud canon fire, were heard within a 25km radius of the city of Utrecht, followed by a whistling that lasted two to three minutes.  While most witnesses were startled by the noise, some initially thought the sound was actually produced by a distant musical performance, or the shouting of children.  One of the two stones was seen to fall by a farmer in his field, and almost 10 kg of material were ultimately recovered.Utrecht meteorite

The Utrecht meteorite is one of only five Dutch meteorites, all of which have been witnessed falls.

Photo: ASU/CMS.

Sterlitamak

Sterlitamak is a IIIAB iron meteorite that fell late on the night of May 17, 1990, in Russia.

SterlitamakPhoto: ASU/CMS/Garvie.
 
 
 
Many witnesses in South Bashkiria saw a very bright fireball (up to -5 magnitude) moving from south to north at a ~45 degree angle to the horizon. Witnesses located ~2 km from the crater observed the fireball glowing right up to the time of impact, after which several explosions were heard. The crater was found on May 19.
 
To date, 325 kg of material have been recovered from the crater, the largest piece from a depth of 12 m (39.4 ft).

 Sterlitamak crater

Photo: Archival.

Bovedy

Bovedy is an (L3) ordinary chondrite that fell in Northern Ireland the night of April 25, 1969, near Belfast. The Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 46) describes the fall:
"The fireball was seen all the way from Sussex through London, Doncaster and Yorkshire to Northern Ireland toward Belfast. It was moving from ESE to W NW very rapidly. There was a swishing noise and people reported explosions. The largest fragment of the meteorite weighing 7,400 g was found near the village of Filrea, Londonderry County."
 
What makes Bovedy unique, is that its arrival was the first ever captured on audio recording. According to a paper published shortly after the event [E.J. Opik (1970) The Sonic Boom of the Boveedy Meteorite. Irish Astronomical Journal, 9(8), p. 308]:
"Miss Eileen M. Brown, of Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, an employee of the Telephone Exchange in Belfast, in pursuit of her hobby of recording bird songs was on that evening exposing as usual her tape recorder in the garden with the idyllic evening calls of the birds were suddenly interrupted by thunder.  She thought, indeed, that it was thunder albeit from a clear sky. Yet her father's dog thought differently – instead of panicking and seeking refuge at his master's feet as in the case of real thunder, he did not show any signs of alarm. So father concluded that it was not thunder, and indeed he and his dog were right." 
 
Opik goes on to describe the audio recording:
"On the tape, among bird voices of the April evening, there occurs at first interference by a car passing the street in front of the garden, but this vanishes at the right time to give again prominence to the birds.  Then suddenly are heard the "gunfire" reports of the meteorite, three strong sharp detonations within less than half-a-second interval, followed by weaker ones during a few seconds.  Some five seconds after the "thunder" there followed barking of dogs"
 
Listen to the recording below, and read more about the Bovedy meteorite fall here, and here!
 
 
The Ulster Museum posted this photo on the occasion of the anniversary of the Bovedy meteorite:
Bovedy meteorite

Bishopville

Bishopville is an aubrite that fell in Sumter County, South Carolina, on March 25, 1843.  According to Nininger (Meteoritics vol 19):

Its meteor and the explosion which accompanied the fall were witnessed over an area 30 to 40 miles in diameter. One six-kilogram stone was seen to strike the Earth and recovered from a depth of about three feet in the soft soil.

BishopvilleImage copyright ASU/CMS.

Vigarano

Vigarano is a (CV3) carbonaceous chondrite that fell the evening of January 22, 1910, near Ferrara, Italy.  Vigarano is the type specimen for the CV group meteorites which are, according to The Meteoritical Society, "distinguished by large (mm-sized) chondrules, many of which are surrounded by igneous rims, large refractory inclusions and abundant matrix (40 vol%); CV chondrites may be divided into oxidized and reduced subgroups."

In a 2010 magazine article, Dr. Enrico Trevisani (Conservator of Earth Sciences, Museo di Storia Naturale di Ferrara, Italy) references an eyewitness account of the meteorite's fall, written by municipal secretary of Vigarano Mainarda, Ugo Martini:
"On the night of 22 January 1910, at 21:30, the Bovini family, who live in the Saracca farm house, owned by Mr. Michele Cariani in Vigarano Pieve, a hamlet in the Municipality of Vigarano Mainarda (Ferrara), was awakened by a strong explosion that was like a mortar explosion. The night was stormy, it was snowing, and a few women were spinning in the kitchen. The ladies claim that they saw a streak of lightening at the same time as the explosion. They got scared, and called the men who were sleeping. The men explored the outside of the house with lanterns. They saw something three metres south east of the house, on the ground lightly covered with snow, and immediately confirmed that the hole had been made recently. Naturally they sank a shovel into the hole, and hit a solid, cold body, which they took out".

The history of the Vigarano meteorite is particularly interesting.  While 16 kg of material were recovered in 1910 (the first mass immediately after impact, and the second the following month), research undertaken by Dr. Trevisani in recent years, has unearthed an additional 6.9 kg in a private collection, as well as a plethora of Vigarano imposters.  Some of these imposters were even identified in museum collections! 

Vigarano post card

The meteorite's fall was widely publicized, and the main mass was featured on a tourism postcard in 1911.

Learn about the history of the Vigarano meteorite and see photos here!

Read about ASU Center for Meteorite Studies research on Vigarano here!

Oued Bourdim 001

Oued Bourdim 001 is a pallasite (PES) found in Morocco in 2014.

According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 104):

In November, 2007, Brahim Oubadi from Bouanane, Morocco, was searching for meteorites on the Oued Bourdim wadi. He found many small pieces of a heavy rock (for its size) that looked different from the surrounding materials. Over the next few years, Mr. Oubadi found approximately 400 g. He sold the stones to a meteorite dealer in Boudnib, and they were subsequently sold at the Tucson Gem and Mineral show where they were nicknamed "Boudnib".

This photograph shows an area of metal in Oued Bourdim 001 stain-etched with sodium bisulfite. The kamacite is stained a kaleidoscope of colors. Tetrataenite/taenite is bright and shiny and the fine-grained plessite is dark. Photo ⓒ ASU/CMS/Garvie.

OuedBourdim001

Benguerir

Benguerir is an (LL6) ordinary chondrite that fell in Morocco in 2004.

According to the Meteoritical Bulletin (MB 89):
A meteorite shower was witnessed to fall near Benguerir (~50 km due north of Marrakesh, Morocco) by local people on 2004 November 22nd at ~11:45 GMT. The fall had an east-to-west trajectory. The estimated total recovered mass is ~25-30 kg. Three stones fell at the following localities: Douar Lfokra, Ahl Fouim Sakhra Lourania and Douar Tnaja. Two additional stones were also found further west, near Si Abdellah and Tnine Bouchane. A stone weighing ~4 kg, possibly recovered at Douar Tnaja, shows dull black fusion crust and regmaglypts on one side, and it is presently held at the office of the Govenor of the Kelaa Sraghna Province. Another stone weighing ~1.2 kg, possibly from Douar Lfokra, is kept in the laboratory of the Gendarmerie Royale.

To date, 25 kg of the Benguerir meteorite have been recovered.

Benguerir Meteorite