Northwest Africa (NWA) XXX unclassified stone meteorite with an exceptional laboratory-prepared face. Weighing 1.582 kilograms and measuring approximately 115 mm x 105 mm x 35 mm. The meteorite world was forever changed in the late 1990s when new finds, the majority of them stone meteorites, starting appearing in significant numbers from the dry deserts of Northwest Africa—primarily Morocco, Algeria, and Libya. A few forward-thinking meteorite dealers trained locals in what to look for and, in some cases, even provided magnets and metal detectors to aid in the search. The result was a wave of thousands of meteorite finds over the next two decades, rivaled in number only by the successes of academic teams operating in Antarctica.
While the finds were numerous, many of the actual find locations were lost, prompting the adoption of a numbering system by academia which included "NWA" for Northwest Africa, and a chronological number. For example, data on the intriguing meteorite NWA 869 (SEE LOT 2455) can be found in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database—the official repository for the data on all recognized meteorites.
Numbers are only assigned to meteorites that have gone through the exacting and sometimes expensive and time-consuming process of classification by an accredited laboratory. There are only a small number of labs in the world authorized to do this type of specialized work. As resources are limited, finders/owners may elect to not always go through the classification process and, instead, assign an unofficial designation—NWA XXX—to a particular meteorite. Such is the case with this exemplary 1.58-kg specimen. This hefty and highly attractive desert find shows a number of sought-after characteristics typical in stone meteorites. Its exterior displays deep and well formed regmaglypts—indentions which formed when its surface melted during its brief and high-temperature flight through Earth's atmosphere—a feature that is unique to meteorites. While regmaglypts are frequently seen on the surface of iron meteorites, it is quite rare to see such well-formed examples on a stone. The exterior also exhibits remnant fusion.
The large polished face reveals an interior rich in interesting features: abundant, small, colorful chondrules confirm it is a chondrite (stone meteorite) and the myriad shiny, nickel-iron flecks also testify to its extraterrestrial origin. A beautiful and striking display piece, full of wonder, and rich in archetypal features unique to space rocks. Accompanied by a specimen identification card from Aerolite Meteorites.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.