Lot 40 | GIBEON METEORITE — END PIECELike most iron meteorites, Gibeon meteorites formed 4.5 billion years ago within the molten core of an asteroid whose shattered remains are part of the asteroid belt. After wandering through interplanetary space, several thousand years ago the Gibeon mass slammed into Earth’s atmosphere where it exploded and rained down over what is now the Kalahari Desert in Namibia. In previous generations, indigenous tribesmen recovered small meteorite fragments at or near the surface and fashioned them into spear points and other tools. This specimen was recovered with the aid of a metal detector. Gibeon meteorites were not known to westerners until 1836. They formed deep in the iron core of an asteroid that resided between Mars and Jupiter.
As the crystalline intergrowth now seen does not appear in terrestrial iron ores, its presence is diagnostic for iron meteorites, and pattern variations are frequently indicative of different irons. This latticework, referred to as a Widmanstätten pattern, is a product of the solid-state intergrowth of two different iron-nickel minerals: kamacite (the low-nickel variety) and taenite (the high-nickel variety). Gibeon meteorites are known for their robust fine octahedral crystalline structure and the current offering is a choice example. The reverse of this vaguely acorn-shaped specimen evidences a good deal of character with its furrows and crests blanketed in an oxidized patina.
Christie's would like to thank Dr. Alan E. Rubin at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles for his assistance in preparing this catalogue.
114 x 74 x 29mm (4.5 x 3 x 1 in.) and 694.7g (1.5 lbs)
Information about the auction
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|Preview||09.02.2021 - 23.02.2021|
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