From the personal collection of Geoffrey Notkin. Iron meteorite, IIAB. Witnessed fall, February 12, 1947, eastern Siberia. Intriguing individual with abundant regmaglypts. Weighing 80.2 grams and measuring 73 mm x 44 mm x 11 mm. Regmaglypts, also known as “thumbprints,” are oval depressions of varying size found on the surface of many meteorites. These indentations resemble the marks a sculptor might make with his or her thumbs on a wet lump of clay, hence their name.
Seminal meteorite researcher and hunter, H.H. Nininger noted that the size of regmaglypts on a particular meteorite is usually proportional to the size of the meteorite itself. A 100-gram iron may be covered with scores of tiny thumbprints, each just a few millimeters in length, while a 100-kilogram meteorite might display regmaglypts that are each several inches in length. Regmaglypts, created as an incoming potential meteorite’s outer layer melts during flight, are a feature unique to space rocks.
This very attractive specimen is a treasure trove of a feature that is unique to meteorites and well illustrate Nininger’s observation. Both faces are covered in tiny, overlapping thumbprints, but there’s more to it than that. The “front” or leading edge displays regmaglypts that are deeper and better formed. The “back” or trailing edge, also shows regmaglypts, but they are shallow.
It’s also possible to discern a hint of the wide lamellae, or bands, of which the Sikhote-Alin meteorite exhibits so well. And so, this piece tells a story: It likely fragmented very high in the atmosphere; its leading edge spent more time facing Earth as it hurtled groundwards, allowing time for fine regmaglypts to form. It may have then flipped over, allowing some, but less, time for the trailing edge to ablate.
This beautiful specimen is from the personal collection of Geoffrey Notkin, host of television’s Meteorite Men and CEO of Aerolite Meteorites and was handpicked from finds made at the fall site in the 1990s, because of its uniqueness. It has remained in Notkin’s private collection until now. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Aerolite Meteorites.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.