The Allende Meteorite

The Allende meteorite is the largest carbonaceous chondrite ever found on Earth. The fireball was witnessed at 01:05 on February 8, 1969, falling over the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

After breaking up in the atmosphere, an extensive search for pieces was conducted and over 2 tonnes (tons) of meteorite were recovered. The availability of large quantities of samples of the scientifically-important chondrite class has enabled numerous investigations by a large number of scientists; it is often described as “the best-studied meteorite in history and also the oldest rock on earth of extraterrestrial origin. The Allende meteorite has abundant, large calcium-aluminium-rich inclusions, which are among the oldest objects formed in the Solar System.

The original stone is believed to have been approximately the size of an automobile traveling towards the Earth at more than 10 miles per second. The fall occurred in the early morning, a huge, brilliant fireball approached from the southwest and lit the sky and ground for hundreds of miles. It exploded and broke up to produce thousands of fusion crusted pieces.

This is typical of falls of large stones through the atmosphere and is due to the sudden braking effect of air resistance. The fall took place in northern Mexico, near the village of Pueblito de Allende in the state of Chihuahua.

 

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