From the Collection: Meteorites

Dudley has a nice collection of meteorites.  Modest is number, but with a good range.  Granted, the bulk of them are micrometeorites embedded in some kind of material, but we’ve still got a fair number that are actually visible to the naked eye.

To the right is one of my favorite, a slice of a Pallasite meteorite found in Kansas known as the Brenham.  A Pallasite is a type of stony-iron meteorite made up of olivine crystals embedded in the usual iron-nickle.  It creates a striking look.

This piece was purchased from the American Meteorite Laboratory when it was run by Harvey Nininger.  An American original, Nininger was a biologist who became a self-taught collector and educator about all things involving meteorites. He directed the American Meteorite Museum and distributed samples through the Laboratory.  We have a number of his original typewritten identification slips, and they may someday become as collectible as the meteorites themselves.

Less visually striking, but heavier, is this piece from Odessa, Texas.  It is exactly what it looks like, a big chunk of meteorite iron.  It came down in Odessa sometime in prehistoric times, breaking into pieces and forming a series of craters.  One of the largest craters is now on the registry as a National Natural Landmark.

Most meteorites aren’t quite this impressive, and don’t leave lasting marks.  This last piece comes to us from exotic McKownville, NY.  According to the report, its entry was witness by an observer who saw it strike a metal fence and shatter.  This is the only piece that could be recovered, while the fence was unharmed.