Vaca Muerta Meteorite End Cut
Antofagasta, Chile – (25° 45’S, 70° 30’W)
Mesosiderites are a unique and understudied variety of meteorite, consisting of both nickel-iron and silicate in approximately equal parts. The breccias have an irregular texture, so they will reveal tremendous mixtures of metal and stone when cut and polished. Found in the Atacama Desert of Chile in 1861, the site was “lost” for almost 100 years, but, fortunately, much material was eventually recovered of Vaca Muerta, which is one of the most stable mesosiderites. While its name does literally translate to “Dead Cow” from the Spanish, the Valera Meteorite has the honor of being the only meteorite determined to have actually killed a cow.
An exquisite end cut example of this Mesosiderite-A1 weighing 679 grams (1.5 pounds), this superlative offering represents the largest extant piece of the Vaca Muerta found on camera on the “Hidden Atacama Gems, Chile” episode of Meteorite Men (link below) – Geoff Notkin’s acclaimed television series. Most samples of Vaca Muerta that have been found are weathered fragments, while this offering is large and pristine, as evidenced by the polished “window” face of this representation of the historic meteorite discovered by prospectors 160 years ago. The laboratory expert who performed the work of cutting and polishing the specimen remarked it was “the best mesosiderite I’ve seen in 25 years,” in further testimony to its superlative nature. The piece was featured in the laboratory scenes at the Center for Meteorite Studies at Arizona State University with research professor Dr. Laurence Garvie as well as in Notkin’s book How to Find Treasure from Space of which a copy accompanies this Lot, along with a Certificate of Authenticity. All of the other smaller slices were sold long ago, so this example stands as the largest remaining piece of the largest meteorite found during the Chile Expeditions. This is a beautiful end cut with its reflective silver metallic face exhibiting an array of wonderful clast inclusions.