Campo del Cielo iron meteorite individual with a natural hole, weighing 657.7 grams and measuring approximately 82 mm x 78 mm x 33 mm. The superb sculptural individual features a hole at the center, likely formed as a softer inclusion—perhaps a troilite iron sulphide nodule—boiled away amid intense temperatures, leaving behind the tougher nickel-iron matrix, which fell to Earth. Accompanied by a specimen identification card from Aerolite Meteorites.
What is it that so fascinates us about iron meteorites with natural holes? Is it their rarity—perhaps 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 10,000? Or is it the tantalizing evidence they show of furious ablation during a harrowing flight through Earth's atmosphere? Whatever it is, few examples can compare with this spectacular thumb-printed individual, which features an uncommonly large and centrally oriented oblong natural hole. In one orientation, it is reminiscent of a dog's head; in another of an owl.
A natural space sculpture that could hold its own against many works of modern studio art, this highly desirable and exceedingly unusual piece is cosmic engineering at its finest.
Few cosmic impacts during our planet’s tumultuous history can have generated such measurable and far-reaching an influence as the gigantic Campo del Cielo meteorite fall. It is aptly named, as Campo del Cielo is Spanish for 'field of heaven,' or 'field of the sky,' and it must truly have seemed that the sky was falling at the time of impact. About 5,600 years ago dense, nickel-iron cosmic debris rained down over what are today the Argentinian provinces of Chaco and Formosa. It must surely have seemed like the end of the world to any early peoples unlucky enough to have been in the vicinity. The incoming meteoroids (the scientific term for a potential meteorite before it makes contact with the ground), likely had a long and shallow flight path, as evidenced by the lengthy fall zone, or strewnfield. The larger masses formed craters and over twenty have been recorded. Although early peoples likely collected some of the metallic fragments from the surface—perhaps using them as tools or weapons—the first recorded information about this historic meteorite comes from 1576 when the invading Spanish noted the existence of abundant natural iron in Chaco province.
Some large masses of Campo del Cielo remained on the surface, while others were buried over time. Some of those were recovered from significant depths—12 feet or more—with the help of professional metal detectors.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.