A LARGE SPECIMEN OF ALLENDE
Carbonaceous – CV3
Chihuahua, Mexico (26°58' N, 105°19' W)
There are two fractured surfaces and one freshly cut face. Fusion crust—the result of the meteorite’s burning descent through the atmosphere—covers most of the specimen’s surface area. Chondrules and CAI’s—the oldest substance mankind can touch—are richly evident. The National Autonomous University of Mexico catalog number “UNAM 08-634843” is painted onto to the specimen. Modern cutting.
114 x 103 x 97mm. (4½ x 4 x 3¾ in.)
Meteorite Collection of the National Autonomous University of Mexico
Please note that this lot is the property of a private collector.
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ALLENDE — OLDEST MATTER KNOWN CONTAINED IN LARGE MASS
Allende is the most important and most thoroughly researched meteorite of all time. After the meteorite fell to Earth, scientists quickly found that this cosmic visitor contains minerals that formed at the earliest stage of Solar-System history. The white inclusions seen here, calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions or CAIs, are the oldest matter mankind can touch, dating back 4.567 billion years.
On 8 February 1969, just as geochemists around the world were fine-tuning their analytical equipment in preparation for the return of the first Apollo samples, a shower of meteoritic stones pelted Chihuahua, Mexico. The stones were gathered up by local residents who sold them to the hordes of scientists who had rushed in. Geochemical, petrological and isotopic analyses began almost immediately. Researchers found that the meteorites were part of one mass that had disintegrated high in the atmosphere. There are eight major groups of carbonaceous chondrites, each derived from a separate parent asteroid. The “CV” group, of which Allende is the most prominent member, possesses the largest chondrules and inclusions. Allende is the most researched meteorite material in the world and this is a superlative, fresh specimen with institutional provenance.
Christie's would like to thank Dr. Alan E. Rubin at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles for his assistance in preparing this catalogue note.
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