The surface blanketed in a fusion crust of regmaglypts formed during the fiery passage through Earth’s atmosphere after traveling at a cosmic velocity of approximately 12 miles per second. The amount of frictional heating which occurs while the meteorite is plunging through the atmosphere results in the meteorite’s exterior becoming molten, and as a result of air flow, it ablates off the mass. The surface is rendered as if molded by thumbprints, with a few windows into the internal structure.

On Wednesday 19 August 2020 at 10:18 in the morning, a fireball lit up the sky above eastern Brazil. Entering the Earth atmosphere at 15.36 km/s at a 43.1° inclination, it travelled 61.3 km in 4 seconds and landed 7.5 km east of the city of Santa Filomena. About 80 kilograms of material were recovered, with most pieces weighing less than two kilograms. This main mass is the largest stone meteorite recorded in Brazil.

The official classification of the meteorite was carried out by Dr. Amanda Tossi and Dr. Maria Zucolotto who published it in the catalogue raisonné of meteorites, the Meteoritical Bulletin, as an H5-6 chondrite. About 80% of meteorites observed to fall are ordinary chondrites (hence the name) and these are derived from three separate asteroids. The meteorites are labeled H (high total iron), L (low total iron) and LL (low total iron, low metallic iron). The total amount of iron includes iron in metal and sulfide as well as oxidized iron in silicates and oxides. Santa Filomena is a member of the H-chondrite group and contains abundant metallic iron. Large stone meteorites are extremely rare; especially those covered in fusion crust such as this.

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.
400 mm x 305 mm x 255 mm (1534 x 12 x 10 in.)
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