- Meteorite Type: Iron, ungrouped
- Weight: 12.1 kilograms
- Approximate Measurements: 304 mm x 171 mm x 74 mm
- Additional Information: This hefty specimen is larger than the majority of pieces found in Russia’s Dronino strewnfield. Note the interesting surface features which appear to be torn or striated, likely by in-air explosion or terrestrial impact. This meteorite has been cleaned to remove surface soil and oxidation and stabilized (using non-invasive methods) to ensure longevity.
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Iron Ungrouped, Found in Russia, 2000
The metallic element nickel, Ni on the periodic table, is important in the classification and identification of meteorites. While the unrefined form of nickel, nickel ore, is relatively abundant on Earth, nickel in its pure form is very rare. That’s not the case in iron meteorites. In fact, nickel is so consistently seen in iron meteorites that its presence is used as a definitive indicator in laboratory or assay tests: no nickel = no meteorite. The average component is about 7%.
In the rare ataxite sub-group, however, nickel is present in much higher amounts. The taenite alloy in the Dronino ataxite (presented here) for example can contain more than 26% nickel. Ataxites typically do not display a Widmanstätten Pattern, or etch, when prepared in the lab, but slices do lend them- selves to an alluring mirror-like finish, if sufficient care and expertise are employed.
DRONINO: METEORITE OR MUSHROOM?
The Dronino strewnfield is situated close to the Russian town of Kasimov, founded in 1152. In this decidedly rural setting, the archaic pastime of wild mushroom hunting is still practiced. And so it was that the Dronino iron meteorite was accidentally found in the year 2000 by Oleg Gus’Kov, a man in search or earthbound fungi.
Extensive work at the site by professional meteorite hunters followed and it was the site of a third season episode (“Dronino”) of TV’s award-winning series Meteorite Men. Due to the number of masses found, and their size and disposition, it has been suggested by expert hunters that Dronino is a buried impact site (soil crater), though no definitive evidence is currently on record.