Lot 4
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MUONIONALUSTA METEORITE CUBE  CRYSTALLINE STRUCTURE DRAMATIZED IN THREE DIMENSIONS

Iron, fine octahedrite
Kiruna, Sweden
Price Realised: USD 10000.00
Estimate : USD 10,000 - 15,000
Description

This dense iron-nickel cube that is in effect, extraterrestrial steel, exhibits a Muonionalusta meteorite’s choice crystalline fingerprint in three dimensions. This specimen was cut from a larger meteorite and then machined into a cube to reveal its internal matrix in three dimensions. Modern fashioning.
84 x 84 x 84mm. (3⅓ x 3⅓ x 3⅓in.)

5.15kg. (11⅓lbs.)

Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.

The condition of lots can vary widely and the nature of the lots sold means that they are unlikely to be in a perfect condition. Lots are sold in the condition they are in at the time of sale.

Overall in excellent condition. Please note that weights and dimensions are approximate only and that the appearance and surfaces of meteorites might change if not appropriately cared for. Proper handling and correct humidity control are easy to accommodate and will ensure condition is maintained, please contact the department if you would like further advice on how to live with meteorites in your collection.

Lot Essay

Muonionalusta meteorites were found in northern Sweden above the Arctic Circle near the Muonio River. While meteorite hunters have unearthed numerous masses in recent years, it was back in 1906 that children discovered the first Muonionalusta while engaging in a favorite childhood pastime: kicking rocks—and in this instance kicking an unexpectedly dense object later verified to be a meteorite. Possessing what is among the highest terrestrial ages of any meteorite, Muonionalusta fell to Earth about one million years ago when the region was glaciated. Despite its age, many specimens exhibit only minor interior weathering as a result of it being “on ice” in the freezer of the Arctic. Muonionalusta specimens are believed to be glacial erratics (material transported by a glacier), and their exposure to churning rocks and ice during the course of four ice ages would account for the smooth surface of most specimens. It is all about the splendor within; when sliced and etched, Muonionalusta displays the classic Widmanstätten pattern, the intergrowth of two iron-nickel minerals that form an unearthly metallic grid in shimmering shades of gray and silver which is diagnostic in the identification of an iron meteorite—and the current presentation is a particularly robust example.

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 catalog note.

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