Campo del Cielo

Chaco and Formosa, Argentina
Recommended for classification as an Iron, IAB-MG

Few cosmic impacts during our planet’s tumultuous history can have generated such measurable and far-reaching an influence as the gigantic Campo del Cielo meteorite fall. It is aptly named, as Campo del Cielo is Spanish for “Field of Heaven,” or “Field of the Sky,” and it must truly have seemed that the sky was falling at the time of impact. About 5,600 years ago dense, nickel-iron cosmic debris rained down over what are today the Argentinian provinces of Chaco and Formosa. It must surely have seemed like the end of the world to any early peoples unlucky enough to have been in the vicinity. The incoming meteoroids (the scientific term for a potential meteorite before it makes contact with the ground), likely had a long and shallow flight path, as evidenced by the lengthy fall zone, or strewnfield. The larger masses formed craters and over twenty have been recorded. Although early peoples likely collected some of the metallic fragments from the surface — perhaps using them as tools or weapons — the first recorded information about this historic meteorite comes from 1576 when the invading Spanish noted the existence of abundant natural iron in Chaco province.

Some large masses of Campo del Cielo remained on the surface, while others were buried over time. Some of those were recovered from significant depths — 12 feet or more — with the help of professional metal detectors.

On January 1, 2008 Argentina implemented a law prohibiting the exportation of meteorites. All of our Campo del Cielo specimens were legally obtained prior to the enactment of that law. We do not trade in illegally exported meteorite specimens.

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