Substantial Sikhote-Alin iron meteorite fragment from the largest recorded meteorite fall in history on February 12, 1947, over the Sikhote-Alin Mountains in Siberia, Russia. The shrapnel (fragment) specimen weighs 528.9 grams and measures approximately 75 mm x 70 mm x 55 mm. This example is a fragment that exploded in flight. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Geoff Notkin of Aerolite Meteorites Inc. and the TV show Meteorite Men.
While individual Sikhote-Alin meteorites display attractive features and appeal to the aesthetically-inclined, shrapnel fragments show the catastrophic forces inflicted upon incoming meteorites. One February evening, just two years after the end of the Second World War, a large iron mass crashed suddenly into the atmosphere of planet Earth. Forcing a column of air ahead of itself, the mass generated heat and pressure and, within a few short seconds, superheated to about 3,000 degrees. The extreme temperature change caused rapid expansion of the nickel-iron matrix and mounting pressure of ever-denser air forced the mass to shear and fracture along its crystalline planes causing a massive aerial explosion that was heard by human observers on the ground. The shockwave reportedly knocked over forest workers, and twisted shards of metal rained down among snowy pines. Melted, torn, and blasted, these fragments so resembled the remnants of wartime bombing that they were named shrapnel. Noted expert and "Meteorite Man" Geoff Notkin educates us on his adventures worldwide as a meteorite hunter in this podcast.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.