Wrapped in a gunmetal-hued patina with pewter accents and chrome highlights, this elliptical meteorite with a deep central cavity is covered in regmaglypts from melting in Earth’s atmosphere. The obverse is largely flat with an absence of the animated contours seen on the face. Tell-tale rivulets where molten material streamed off this meteorite during its descent are evident. An elevated ablation lip can be seen on the rim as further evidence of orientation
94 x 72 x 39 mm. (3¾ x2¾ x 1½ in.) and 632.1 g. (1⅓ lbs)
A distinguished example of one of the most terrifying meteorite showers of modern times. Its journey began 320 million years ago, when a giant iron mass broke-off from its parent body in the asteroid belt and wandered through space until it encountered Earth on 12 February 1947. Upon slamming into the atmosphere, it began to break apart, creating a fireball brighter than the Sun as it sailed over Siberia’s Sikhote-Alin Mountains. The shockwaves from the low altitude explosion of the main mass collapsed chimneys, shattered windows and uprooted trees. Sonic booms were heard more than 300 kilometers away and a 33-kilometer long smoke trail persisted in the sky for several hours. Many of the resulting meteorites produced impact craters as large as 26 meters — with nearly 200 craters having been catalogued. A famous painting of the event by artist and eye-witness P. I. Medvedev was reproduced as a postage stamp issued by the Soviet government in 1957 to commemorate what many likened to what was seemingly the end of the world. This meteorite also has membership in a rare class of meteorites — it is oriented (i.e., unlike 99% of all meteorites, it did not tumble along its vertical axis while plunging through the atmosphere). The fluting of the deep central socket is the result of atmospheric heating — in effect, it was created by a powerful natural blowtorch.
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.
Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
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