Historical Information about the SIKHOTE-ALIN METEORITE:
This meteorite was one of the few large, witnessed meteorite falls in historic
time. It fell to earth as violent fireball at 10:38 local time on
the morning of February 12, 1947 in the Sikhote-Alin region of Eastern
Siberia (Map). It has been estimated
that the meteorite entered the earth's atmosphere at a velocity of 31,000
miles per hour! The impact could be felt a hundred miles away.
Witnesses said that it initially looked as a bright star, but soon turned
into a dazzling fireball, which rapidly crossed the sky north to south,
leaving a boiling dusty trail of meteoroid particles. The Soviet
artist Medvedev witnessed the meteorite fall and painted what he had witnessed.
In 1957, the anniversary of the meteorite fall, the Soviet government issued
a stamp depicting Medvedevís painting.
Within the Sikhote-Alin impact region 24 major craters have been found,
the biggest of which was 26 m in diameter and 6 m deep. An additional
98 smaller craters were found. There are two distinct types of meteorite
from this impact site. The first type consists of explosive fragments,
or shrapnel, having a ragged shape, which may have resulted from the destruction
of large pieces (2-3 tons), which hit the ground at high velocities, formed
craters, and broke into fragments that bounced off. The second type
are referred to as "individuals", which broke off of the main meteor mass
early in the descent. They show ablation and fusion crust. The surface
was vaporized and eroded by the trip through the atmosphere. Their feature
are regmaglypts or thumb prints which are ablation cavities in the surface of
the specimen. Total mass of meteorite iron that reached the ground
is estimated by various researchers as 70 to 100 tons. Structural
Class: Coarsest octahedrite, Ogg, Widmanstatten bandwidth 9 + 5 mm. Chemical
Class: Iron IIB; Fe 93.32%, Ni 6.00%, Co 0.47%, Cu 0.03%, P 0.28%, S<0.01%.
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