Wrapped in a pewter-hued patina with charcoal accents and chrome highlights. Smoothly elevated striations evidence the mechanics of how this meteorite was torn apart — and it features a great rarity: the uppermost flange of this meteorite swivels a few millimeters as a result of what is in effect an approximation of a ball and socket joint. While nearly all shrapnel specimens exploded apart, this is a notable anomaly.
98 x 94 x 19 mm. (3¾ x 3¾ x ¾ in.) and 343.8 g. (¾ lbs)
From one of the most historic meteorite showers on record. This meteorite originates from the largest meteorite shower of the last several thousand years. 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 and created 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. There are two types of Sikhote-Alin meteorites: the gently scalloped specimens that broke free of the main mass upon in the upper atmosphere and acquired the aerodynamic thumb prints known as “regmaglypts,” and the jagged and twisted shrapnel-like specimens which resulted from the aforementioned low-altitude explosion of the main mass. Most Sikhote-Alin shrapnel meteorites are not aesthetic. The specimen now offered is a notable exception.
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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