Exceptional impact artifact: Window measuring 21.75" H x 16" W x 2" D with broken glass shattered by the shockwave from the Chelyabinsk fireball, February 15, 2013, Chelyabinsk, Russia. Since large fireball events happen infrequently, and even less frequently over inhabited areas (the most recent prior example was over Park Forest, Illinois, in 2003), this was perhaps a once-in-a-life-time opportunity. Since it was widely-reported that a large number of windows were shattered over an estimated 200-square-mile region, you’d think this would have been a relatively easy task. It wasn’t. It was a winter fireball...in Russia. The average February high around Chelyabinsk is 19 F° with a low of -4F.° Therefore, is it any surprise that the industrious Russians repaired everything as quickly as humanly possible?
As noted elsewhere in the catalog [SEE LOTS 2465 through 2467] the Russian Chelyabinsk fireball of February, 2013 was the most thoroughly-documented fireball event in all of recorded history. It is unparalleled in its study for another reason, too: the massive damage it inflicted on local civilization. An estimated 1,200 people were injured and hundreds or thousands of windows were blown out by the force of the meteorite’s shockwave. Videos of the fireball and windows exploding due to shock can be seen in some number on YouTube.
A noted and experienced meteorite hunter and collector quickly traveled from the United States to Russia with the intention of recovering freshly-fallen meteorites. He was successful in this, but he also had an even more challenging goal: He was going after impact artifacts.
When our colleague arrived in Chelyabinsk, he was surprised (and very disappointed) to find no obvious remaining architectural evidence of the massive fireball and its shockwave. Windows had been rapidly replaced and broken glass on city streets had been carefully swept up and discarded. However, successful meteorite hunters are patient and relentless and determination won out. Eventually, a house was located where the owner had not been quite as efficient as his neighbors with rapid repair response. There were still three broken windows in place. All three were photographed, and (very carefully) returned to the USA with the shattered glass fragments. We can only imagine how delighted the Russian owner must have been. Not only did a “crazy” American arrive to pay for his broken windows, but he also carried off all the rubble. It must almost have seemed as if money had fallen out of the sky.
Presented here is the Chelyabinsk broken window impact artifact. It is a wooden frame with several glass shards shattered by the 2013 fireball still in place. A cloth backing has been added, along with a photograph of the window in front of the Russian house from which it was recovered.
A rare, excellent, and enthralling memento of Earth’s “most famous fireball.” Pair it with one of the fusion-crusted Chelyabinsk stone meteorites offered here [SEE LOTS 2465 through 2467], the actual creators of the shockwave that shattered this window, for a seriously museum-worthy exhibit.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.