Iron meteorite, coarse octahedrite - IIAB, Maritime Territory, Siberia, Russia
The Sikhote-Alin event is among the largest meteorite showers in recorded history. 320 million years ago an iron mass weighing about 100 tons broke away from a larger body and roamed through space at a cosmic velocity nearly ten miles a second until it encountered Earth at 10:30 AM on February 12, 1947. First, a fireball brighter than the Sun created moving shadows in broad daylight; then there were sonic booms which were heard hundreds of kilometers away. As a result of the pressure generated by striking Earth’s atmosphere, small individual meteorites broke off the larger mass. One large mass continued earthward, and when it was only six kilometers above Earth’s surface it exploded into thousands of pieces of shrapnel. The pressure wave from the explosion uprooted trees, shattered windows and crumbled chimneys. Many of the larger fragments produced impact craters; hundreds were catalogued as large as 26 meters in diameter.
As referenced above, there are two types of Sikhote-Alin meteorites: shrapnel-shaped specimens from the low altitude airburst and the more sought-after “complete individual” meteorites which broke apart in the highest reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. This is an example of the latter — and it’s a gorgeous sculptural example. This meteorite exhibits patches of fusion crust from its fiery atmospheric passage and it also features the tiny thumbprints called regmaglypts — another artifact of burning and melting in Earth’s atmosphere.
Accompanied by a rare-earth magnetic armature so you can orient this specimen however you desire, and shrouded in a platinum to pewter-hued patina, this superb meteorite originates from one of the greatest meteorite showers of modern times.
54 x 51 x 31mm (2 x 2 x 1.25 in) and 250.1 grams (0.5 lbs).