Howardite stone meteorite from Asteroid Vesta. Northwest Africa, found 2013. Complete laboratory-prepared slice. Weighing 71.49 grams and measuring 150 mm x 92 mm x 2 mm. Howardites are named after Edward Charles Howard, a British chemist born in 1774, who did early pioneering work in meteorite science. Their name derives from the Greek words “lithos” meaning “stone,” and “rhego” meaning “blanket.” Howardites are regoliths—loose deposits that lie on top of solid rock and may comprise soil, dust and rock fragments. In other words, the howardite regolith is made up of pieces of other meteorites that hit Vesta, combined with broken-up fragments from Vesta’s original surface—a composite of angular, shard-like fragments of a variety of meteorites. They were all smashed together with Vesta’s indigenous volcanic rock, then blasted off into space by yet another giant meteorite impact that formed the massive craters we can see today on Vesta’s surface.
Howardites often benefit from cutting in the laboratory, as their interiors can be visually intriguing, and such is the case with NWA 8559. The mottled look of this prepared specimen clearly demonstrates that it is an amalgam of many different materials, some originating from within Vesta itself, with others assumed to have arrived from other far-off and unidentified asteroids, by smashing themselves into the existing surface. This howardite is a kaleidoscope of variegated space rocks merged into a single, speckled, and fascinating complete slice. Note the variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of its abundant extraterrestrial inclusions. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Aerolite Meteorites.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.