Iron IIAB, Found in Morocco, 2000
In 2000, small pieces of an iron meteorite were collected near Agoudal in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Known also by its provisional name, Imilchil, the meteorite was classified as an IIAB iron. After a small specimen was sold to a dealer in Errich, who recognized it as an authentic space rock, hunters returned to the find site in 2012 and uncovered a considerable amount of meteorites, most of them small pieces found on the surface or buried a few centimeters deep.
Individuals display a beautiful natural patina and, when cleaned, some reveal orientation and flow lines with tiny regmaglypts. The vast majority of recovered pieces are too small to cut in the laboratory, but a single, unusually large mass produced remarkable sliced specimens with a rare occurrence called recrystallization. This is a consequence of, what we believe to be, a secondary asteroidal collision that reheated the material. An interesting desert iron with attractive shapes and rich natural patina.
Baja California, Mexico
Classified in 2020 as an Iron IIIAB
The Baja California meteorite was found near a ranch in Baja California, Mexico before July of 2017. After being analyzed by research specialists at the University of Arizona, it was officially submitted for classification as an Iron (IIIAB). The 10 kilogram single individual displayed weathered fusion crust with pits over the entire surface, and an unusual cavity where an inclusion ablated away as the meteorite hurtled through our atmosphere. Baja California features an absolutely eye-catching interior and exhibits some schreibersite, a mineral found in nickel-iron meteorites. Some Baja California slices will display delicate ribbons of schreibersite running alongside pinched ends of taenite, accented by fine grains of sulfides and raisin-like inclusions of troilite, a rare mineral. Aerolite Meteorites co-owns the mass and was involved in its classification.
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.
CAMPO DEL CIELO CRYSTALS
Campo del Cielo shrapnel fragments, also-known-as Campo crystals, are created from a larger specimen being blasted apart. These resulting fragments were then wire-brushed to a high-metallic shine.
CAMPO DEL CIELO SLICES
Rarely seen sliced, Campo del Cielo displays a truly lovely and captivating etch pattern.
In 2006, a meteorite hunter originally hoping to extend the known boundaries of the Campo del Cielo strewnfield explored far into Formosa Province in Argentina, where he discovered a small and previously unknown meteorite strewnfield 200 miles north of Campo del Cielo, near the town of Las Palmas (“The Palms”). The zone produced about 300 kg of small, beautifully-regmaglypted and highly sculptural iron meteorites. These irons were assumed by many researchers to be examples of the already-known Campo del Cielo meteorite, even though the strewnfields are separated by 200 miles and the Las Palmas strewnfield is perpendicular to the Campo del Cielo strewnfield.
Aerolite Meteorites attempted to have the “Las Palmas” meteorite classified three separate times by three different academics and, each time, a different conclusion was reached. One highly respected researcher said he believed Las Palmas to have the same or similar structure and classification as Campo del Cielo, but stated that it was: “On the strange end of Campo.”
It is highly unlikely that two meteorite strewnfields that are perpendicular to each other and separated by 200 miles could represent the same fall, although the falls could have originated from the same parent body, but fallen at different times.
The Las Palmas individuals are very well preserved, with multiple, fine, small regmaglypts, and most uncleaned pieces display clear remnant fusion crust. These characteristics appear different to the majority of Campo del Cielo finds. “Las Palmas” is not an official name and it is not listed in the Meteoritical Bulletin database. It is, however, without any doubt, a genuine iron meteorite.
Iron IAB-MG, Found in United States, 1891
Meteor Crater is the most recognizable and best-known meteorite feature on Earth and is visited by many thousands of tourists annually. Recent studies estimate its age at 61,000 years.
It was also the first proven meteorite crater. Geologist, miner, entrepreneur, and visionary Daniel Barringer was convinced the feature was a meteorite crater, defying the popular opinion of so-called experts at the time. Barringer spent a fortune searching for what he believe to be a giant meteorite buried under the crater. He was right about the crater, but wrong about the meteorite. We now know that the mass fragmented and part of it vaporized upon impact. But Barringer’s insight and determination gave him an honored place in meteorite history and the site is still sometimes referred to as Barringer Crater.
Another key figure in space rock history, innovative meteoriticist H.H. Nininger, conducted many years of important research at the site and also opened the world’s first private meteorite museum alongside nearby Route 66. Meteor Crater was studied by legendary geologist Gene Shoemaker and some of the NASA Apollo astronauts were trained there prior to their moon missions.
Canyon Diablo is a steep-sided ravine some distance west of the crater and meteorites found around the crater take their name from it (the convention being that meteorites are named after the nearest town or geographical feature to their fall location and they could hardly be named after the crater that they, themselves, formed). Meteor Crater is internationally recognized as a scientific site of unique importance and meteorite collecting there is no longer permitted. Older specimens that were found during the first half of the 19th century, or earlier, when collecting was still allowed are, therefore, highly desirable.
CANYON DIABLO INDIVIDUALS
CANYON DIABLO SLICES
Iron Ungrouped, Found in Russia 1913
German chemist Justus von Liebig is credited with inventing the modern mirror in the 19th century. Today, meteorite collectors will refer to their trusty ataxites, such as Chinga. An ataxite is a meteorite with no internal structure, such as Widmanstätten patterns or Neumann Lines. This meteoritical marvel displays a rich abundance of the mineral taenite which is often seen in harmonious geometrical Widmanstätten patterns within other types of iron meteorites. As a result, Chinga produces a heterogenous, mirror-like surface when it is cut and polished. Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the shiniest meteorite fall?
Iron Ungrouped, Found in Russia, 2000
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 of 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 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.
Prepared in the lab in a special manner, the slices have an unusual and very attractive silver/grey color.
GEBEL KAMIL INDIVIDUALS
Iron Ungrouped, Found in Egypt, 2009
While searching for ancient Egyptian settlements on Google Earth, Italian scientist Vincenzo De Michele, a former curator of the Milan Natural History Museum, accidentally discovered a new meteorite crater! An expedition to the remote site determined that the crater was, indeed, of meteoritic origin and probably about 5,000 years old. 800 kilos of material was recovered by academics and much of that is curated at the Egyptian Geological Museum in Cairo. Despite languishing in the deep desert for fifty centuries and acquiring a bronze-colored patina, Gebel Kamil irons are very well preserved due, no doubt, to the area’s dry climate. Its angular shapes are typical of crater-forming irons, but the “lizard skin” texture is unique to this meteorite. When sliced open Gebel Kamil reveals a surprising interior, a brilliant mirror finish when polished and no Widmanstatten pattern! Gebel Kamil is an ungrouped iron, meaning it does not fit into any existing classification.
Iron IVA, Found in Namibia, 1836
The Gibeon iron, from the Namib Desert, has long been a favorite of collectors because of its sculpted appearance, stability, attractive etch pattern, and lovely, rich desert patina. Some years ago, Gibeon meteorites were relatively common in the marketplace, but a ban on collecting in, and exporting from, Namibia has made these excellent irons almost impossible to obtain. Gibeons make outstanding display pieces and this desirable iron continues to increase in value as available pieces become more and more rare.
Iron IIIAB, Found in Australia, 1931
The Henbury iron was discovered in 1931 and is associated with fifteen impact craters in central Australia. Henbury irons display an attractive desert patina — a reddish-crimson color slowly acquired over hundreds of years. The crater field is now a protected area and collecting is prohibited. As a result, Henburys have all but disappeared from the marketplace. We filmed an episode of our TV series “Meteorite Men” at Henbury in 2010.
All of our Henbury meteorites have legal export permits from Australia.
Iron IAB-ung, Found in Australia, 1911
A remarkable Australian iron, Mundrabillas are known for their unusual zoomorphic shapes. During it’s long flight through our atmosphere, soft areas of the meteorite melted away leaving behind a weird and wonderful animal-like resemblance. We lovingly refer to them at alien animal crackers. Mundrabilla displays an attractive etch pattern and is found in a very remote part of Western Australia, known as the Nullarbor Plain. It is such an unusual iron meteorite that it does not fit with any know class as is described as ungrouped (UNG). All specimens are as-found, with an orange/ochre patina.
All of our Mundrabilla meteorites have legal export permits from Australia.
Iron meteorite, IVA
Arctic Circle, near Muonionalusta Island, Sweden, first known 1906
Meteorites found in remote and nearly inaccessible locales seem to hold a special allure for hunters and collectors alike. Muonionalusta is no exception. The fall site lies north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden and the meteorites found there are so ancient their fall pre-dates at least one ice age. Long-vanished rivers of ice carried meteorites with them for a time, but left the heavy irons behind as they melted, mixing them in with a flotsam and jetsam of mismatched transported rocks known to geologists as terminal moraine. Having been casually “dumped” by retreating ice, the locations and depths at which Muonionalusta meteorites are buried are, therefore, completely random. Conventional meteorite hunting techniques must be thrown out the window by those in search of this ancient and puzzling iron.
The Muonionalusta strewnfield was featured in two episodes of the hit television series Meteorite Men. Much like the Gibeon iron meteorite from Namibia, Muonionalusta displays a beautiful Widmanstätten etch pattern after preparation in the laboratory.
Iron IAB-MG, Guangxi, China
The Nantan meteorite (sometimes called “Nandan”) is a main group iron, first recorded in Guangxi, China in 1958. Individual pieces typically display a rich and attractive bronze patina. Initially classified as a IIICD in the year 2000, it was reclassified as a IAB-MG in 2006. There is some speculation that Nantan irons may be remnants from a significant fireball witnessed in Guangxi Province in the year 1516 which — according to some sources — showered a large area with iron meteorite fragments. The “Meteoritical Bulletin,” however, does not list Nantan as an observed fall, and an association with the 1516 fireball has not yet been proven.
Iron, IIIAB Found Morocco, 2008
Northwest Africa (NWA) 6903 is a scarce but very attractive desert iron originally acquired as a single mass in the vicinity of Khourbiga, Morocco during 2008. Along with widely-known iron meteorites such as Henbury and Whitecourt, 6903 belongs to the group IIIAB, but its compositional structure indicates it is not paired with any other known iron, meaning it is likely a unique and independent fall. NWA 6903 is a medium octahedrite and its bright and shimmering etch pattern displays striking, lacy, interwoven lamella somewhat reminiscent of Toluca (Mexico). Some slices show the presence of the nickel iron phosphide schriebersite, a rare mineral that is only found in one locality on Earth.
Iron IIIAB, Found in Morocco, 2012
Classified as an iron, NWA 11289 was found in Morocco and was originally classified as IIIE. This was later changed to IIIAB, the chemical class belonging to coarse octahedrites. Large asteroids with molten cores produced the raw material for iron meteorites, following collisions within the asteroid belt. Extremely slow cooling of those cores, over millions of years, allowed nickel-iron alloys in these meteorites to crystallize into fantastic geometric structures known as Widmanstätten Patterns. NWA 11289 exhibits a highly geometric pattern; octahedrites derive their name from their pattern, which parallels an octahedron. Different iron meteorites are subdivided according to their nickel content, and in octahedrites, that nickel concentration caused bands of nickel-iron alloy to form bands, which are visible when acid etched and polished.
Iron IAB-MG, Found in Ector County, Texas, United States in 1922
The Odessa meteorite impact crater is located in West Texas and is recognized as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. It’s estimated to be about 63,500 years old. The crater was found by a rancher who rode his horse out looking for a lost calf and stumbled upon the crater. The Odessa crater was verified as a meteorite impact crater because a geologist noticed an odd paperweight in the mayor’s office. The paperweight was a rock that had come out of the center of the crater and was later confirmed to be a meteorite.
We are pleased to present Odessa individuals and slices. The specimens offered are out of a very old collection. The exteriors are well regmaglypted and feature a natural bronze patina. The interior of Odessa displays an absolutely eloquent Widmanstätten pattern and some with eye-catching inclusions.
Iron IIIAB-UNG, Found in Aube Champagne, France
Saint-Aubin is a rare European iron meteorite that was first found in France in 1968 by farmers plowing a field. It is an ungrouped octahedrite, meaning it does not fit into any existing iron meteorite class. Months of laboratory work were required to prepare the mass from which this slice was taken. It has not just been cut, polished, and etched, but also meticulously stabilized by an expert in meteorite preservation and preparation.
As noted in the The Meteoritical Bulletin, Saint-Aubin can display shock features, Neumann lines, iron sulfide nodules, and extraordinary schreibersite needles up to 6 centimeters in length. Schriebersite is a rare nickel-iron phosphide mineral that — apart from a single location in Greenland — is not found on Earth, but only in meteorites.
Iron IC, Found in Columbia, 1810
The main mass of Santa Rosa — at a massive 612.5 kilos — and other smaller specimens, were discovered on a hill in a small town in the Andes Mountains. Other larger individuals were obtained from a miner in a nearby village. It is noted a few specimens were used as anvils. During the 19th century these pieces were distributed, and scientific studies on the meteorite ensued. There was a lot of confusion during the initial studies, because several wrought iron specimens were included as meteorites. In addition, it was deduced that a few specimens appeared to have been reheated (thought due to their use as anvils).
An adventurous gentleman by the name of Henry A. Ward made a long journey to Santa Rosa in an attempt to clear up the mess.
Ward was able to negotiate and purchase the main mass, where it was displayed in the village marketplace on a pillar. Ward wasn’t allowed to export the entire meteorite, he instead took a 150 kilogram end cut, of which part was smooth from the bashing of a sledge hammer. Ward cut up his end and distributed the pieces for continued study.
From 1926-1942 the remaining pieces of this important fall were discovered, and thanks to Ward’s hard work, the final studies of the Santa Rosa meteorite were completed. As described in Buchwald and Wasson’s paper: etched sections are anomalous — displaying no clearly identifiable Widmanstätten structure, the cohenite is decomposed to graphite, the Neumann bands are decorated, numbers subboundaries and partial recrystallization are introduced, and the phosphides display rounded edges and detached taenite islands. In addition, there are troilite-daubreelite-schreibersite assemblages which suggest a high-intensity shock.
Final studies of the recovered masses has left us theorizing about this rare and unusual space rock’s history — there are surprising microstructure variations from specimen to specimen thought to be caused by sustained high heat with temperatures from 500-550° Celsius. These differences are not thought to be caused by artificial reheating, however. As it is unlikely that an anvil could be 500° Celsius for extended periods of time. So alternatives are theorized: the meteorite, while inside its parent body or circling in the cosmos, suffered a decomposition of cohenite at one end while next to nothing happened at the other. Or, the deceleration and rupturing during it’s flight through our atmosphere was so violent that some of the masses were reheated. And finally, that a shock event that produced the melted troilite was weakened in force in one area, while others were heated selectively and sharp temperature gradients took place around them, causing the bizarre structure.
While Santa Rosa has been known to science for many years and its total recovered weight is significant, it is extremely unusual to see this beautiful and historic iron on the collectors’ market, as most examples belong to research institutions. Santa Rosa is one of only eleven meteorites in the IC class. We have less than five superb part slices of this intriguing meteorite available. Note its exquisite and unique Widmanstätten pattern. Please note that these slices are etched and finished on one face only.
Pallasite, Found in Russia, 1967
Seymchan was found in Russia in 1967 in the bed of a brook. The triangular mass discovered was huge, weighing nearly 800 pounds. Researchers originally classified Semchan as an iron (IIE), until 2004 when new material recovered from the site was found to contain lovely olivine crystals. Thus, we now have the best of both; collectors can enjoy Seymchan pallasites as well as Seymchan siderites, which display an exceptionally attractive etch pattern.
Iron IIAB, Witnessed fall in Russia, February 12, 1947
The Sikhote-Alin meteorite is a famous witnessed fall that landed in Russia on the evening of February 12, 1947. That night, a 70-ton mass blasted through Earth’s warm atmosphere at speeds of 25,000 mph or more. During its flight, experts estimate the surface of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite reached at least 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the mass hurtled closer to our planet’s crust, the pressure of ever-denser air forced it to shear and fracture along its crystalline planes, causing a monumental aerial explosion that was heard by human observers on the ground. The shockwave reportedly knocked over forest workers as twisted shards of metal rained down among snowy pines.
Sikhote-Alin meteorites fall into two categories: shrapnel fragments, which are melted, torn, and blasted, resembling the remnants of wartime bombs. Others are complete pieces, their surfaces rounded and sculpted by ablation into fantastical shapes, and covered or partially covered with scalloped indentations called regmaglypts or thumbprints. These sculpted pieces, known as individuals, present beautiful natural formations and comprise only about 20% of all recovered masses.
SIKHOTE-ALIN ORIENTED SPECIMENS
Most incoming potential meteorites spin and tumble as they plummet through the atmosphere. Occasionally, one will maintain a fixed orientation towards the surface of our planet, causing the leading edge to ablate into a shield, nose cone, or bullet shape. When meteorites ablate, some of their mass is removed as a result of vaporization. Meteorites which display such features are quite rare, highly collectible, and are described as oriented. Oriented meteorites were studied by early NASA spacecraft designers and the leading edges of such meteorites are reminiscent of the heat shields on Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space capsules.