Beautiful Seymchan pallasite meteorite (Russia) slice consisting of approximately 50% nickel-iron alloys and 50% extraterrestrial gemstones (peridot), beautifully etched and polished on both faces. The full polished and etched slice weighs 494.3 grams and measures approximately 255 mm x 105 mm x 4 mm. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by Geoff Notkin of Aerolite Meteorites Inc. and the TV show Meteorite Men.
First discovered in 1967 by the Russian geologist F. A. Mednikov, the Seymchan was originally classified as a IIE iron meteorite. In 2004, meteorite hunters associated with the Vernadsky Institute in Moscow returned to the site in the hope of finding additional specimens. They were amazed to discover not iron meteorites, but pallasites—stony-iron meteorites abundant in olivine crystals. Seymchan has an unusual structure: some areas consist of olivine-rich clusters, while others consist almost entirely of nickel-iron. During its tumultuous flight through the atmosphere and subsequent impact, it is easy to imagine the meteoritic masses shearing at the nickel-iron/olivine borders. Some masses, therefore, appear to be entirely metallic, while others appear pallasitic. In this slice, abundant and colorful olivine crystals are suspended in a polished nickel-iron matrix. Olivine crystals of sufficient quality are also known as the gemstone peridot, which is the August birthstone.
As pallasite meteorites are believed to have formed at the core/mantle boundary of large asteroids there is only a narrow horizon of favorable conditions on these meteorites’ parent bodies. That explains why, out of about 57,000 recognized meteorites, there are barely more than 100 pallasites. The preparation of rare meteorites such as this present special challenges: each pass of the saw requires several hours, plus grinding, polishing, and etching. As such, this particular piece benefitted from exceptional care and attention in the lab, right down to the etching process which revealed a complex lattice-like Widmanstatten pattern. This is a world-class specimen of exceptional beauty. 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.