In southern Morocco at 9:30 pm on July 9, 2014 an intense fireball traveling southeasterly was followed by multiple sonic booms heard 220 kilometers from what was to be the site of impact. Municipal and governmental authorities immediately mounted a search, and the next day meteorites were recovered close to the stretch of Highway 12 that runs between Foum El Hisn and Assa near the Algerian border. The news of meteorite recoveries traveled quickly and in short order thousands of people arrived at the site. While all the adults focused their attention on the ground, a young boy found some shade as well as the specimen now offered wedged between the branches of a small tree. As a result of his discovery, he also found quite a bit of local celebrity.

Tirhert meteorites have what is perhaps the glossiest and most lustrous fusion crust of any meteorite. Gleaming even in soft light, Tirhert specimens possess what’s nearly an inconceivable glaze. Transparent patches of fusion crust reveal white plagioclase grains beneath the surface along with honey-hued pyroxene grains.

Tirhert is also one of only two witnessed falls of an unbrecciated eucrite. It originated from the asteroid Vesta from which it was ejected into an Earth-crossing orbit following a collision with another asteroid.

As a result of its composition and its fiery plunge through Earth’s atmosphere, in what is a signature feature of Tirhert meteorites, this specimen is covered in what is possibly the glossiest fusion crust of any meteorite — a characteristic the accompanying image cannot truly capture. Its arrival to Earth is marked by another aerodynamic feature: the rippling seen in the crust is from where molten droplets of material were flowing across the meteorite’s surface during its descent.

Christie's would like to thank Dr. Alan E. Rubin at the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles for his assistance in preparing this catalogue.

61 x 44 x 49mm (2.5 x 1.75 x 2 inches) and 147.9 grams (0.33 lbs.)
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