Wrapped in a patina with charcoal to pewter hues, punctuated with russet pockets, this somewhat elongated specimen resemble the form of a spacecraft. While aerodynamic thumbprints appear on all surfaces, the reverse is largely planar, testimony to where this meteorite was shorn from another mass along a crystalline plane.
412 x 212 x 2in. (11.5 x 6 x 5cm.)
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Lot Essay

After having broken off its parent asteroid 320 million years ago, a massive iron mass wandered through interplanetary space until a close encounter with Earth on 12 February 1947. A fireball brighter than the Sun (it created moving shadows in broad daylight) was seen to explode at an altitude of about 6 km over eastern Siberia. Sonic booms were heard at distances up to 300 km from the point of impact. Chimneys collapsed, windows shattered and trees were uprooted. A 33-km-long smoke trail persisted for several hours in the atmosphere after impact. Iron fragments were scattered over a broad elliptical area. Many of the meteorites penetrated the soil, producing impact craters up to 26 meters across; about 200 such depressions have 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 the impact’s 10th anniversary. As evidenced by the regmaglypts (thumbprints) blanketing one side of this mass, this meteorite was not part of the massive low altitude explosion. Instead, this specimen broke off at a higher altitude, providing sufficient time for frictional superheating with the atmosphere to form the regmaglypts embossed into the specimen. The engaging sample now offered is from the biggest meteorite shower since the dawn of civilization.

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Sculpted by Nature: Fossils, Minerals and Meteorites
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