I've just started getting into researching, finding and collecting meteorites. Here's the first meteorite in my collection:|
This is my first meteorite! This is from the The Sikhote-Alin Fall in Russia. The Sikhote-Alin meteorite fell during daylight at 10:38 a.m. local time on February 12, 1947 in the Sikhote-Alin Mountains of eastern Siberia sending thousands of fragments to the frozen ground of the snow covered Taiga forest. Witnesses reported a fireball that was brighter than the sun. It came from out of the north -- about 15 degrees east of north and descended at an angle of 41 degrees. It left a trail of smoke and dust that was 20 miles long and lingered for several hours. Light and sound of the fall were observed for two hundred miles around the point of impact.
The speed of entry was estimated to be 14.5 kilometers per second. This is about 8.7 miles per second or 31,000 miles per hour. As the meteorite entered the atmosphere some of it began to break apart. The group of fragments fell together. The initial mass was calculated to be between 200 and 500 tons. Of the estimated 100 tons of material that reached the earth, most was in the form of ablation dust.
When the descending group of meteorites reached an altitude of about 3.5 miles, the largest mass apparently broke up in a violent explosion. This was a very low altitude for such an event -- about half the altitude at which passenger jets fly.
The fragments scattered over an elliptical area of about a half a square mile. The largest fragments made small craters and pits. One of these measured 85 feet across and 20 feet deep. The larger craters are located at the far end of the strewn field. (I am working o a map to show this.)
Sikhote-Alin is one of the most spectacular falls of recorded history and one of a very small number of recent iron meteorite falls.
The Shkhote-Ain meteorites have a specific chemical composition, having a 'coarsest octahedrite' structure and are a typical member of the chemical class IIB. I purchased this meteorite in a rock shop in Georgetown Colorado for US $111 (tax included). I've seen similar meteorites (52 grams, "Individuals") sell for up to $250!