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The Fukang Meteorite

Back in the year 2000, an incredible meteorite weighing 2,211 pounds was discovered near Fukang, a city located in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, China. Named the Funkang meteorite, it was identified as a pallasite, a type of stony–iron meteorite. With 4.5 billion years in the making, its golden olivine mixed with silvery nickel-iron to create a stunningly beautiful mosaic effect.

Pallasites are extremely rare even among meteorites (only about 1% of all meteorites are this type) and Fukang has been hailed as one of the greatest meteorite discoveries of the 21st century.

It has since been divided into slices which give the effect of stained glass when the sun shines through them. It is so valuable that even tiny chunks sell in the region for $40 to $60 a gram. An anonymous collector holds the largest portion, which weighs 925 pounds.

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The Fukang meteorite, believed to be some 4.5 billion years old, was found near a town of the same name in China, in 2000. It is a pallasite, a type of meteorite with golden crystals of a mineral called olivine embedded in a silvery honeycomb of nickel-iron.

The original meteorite weighted just over a thousand kilogram (~2k pounds), but the rock was so brilliant that everybody wanted a piece of it. Since then it has been divided into dozens of thin slices and auctioned or distributed around the world. Fukang is possibly the most stunning extraterrestrial piece of rock man has ever seen.

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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Pallasites

I have fallen in love with the meteorites at The Field Museum, namely the pallasites. Pallasites are rare stony-iron meteorites, meaning they are made up of nearly equal parts meteoric irons and embedded silicates, resulting in what could be described as a cosmically designed mosaic of space magic.  Pallasites are historically some of the largest meteorites to be discovered on earth. There are two pictured here:  

The top two photographs show a portion of the Esquel pallasite - Found in 1951 in Chubut, Argentina.  It had a reported recovered weight of ~1,500 kg (3,300+ lbs), which would make it one of the largest pallasites ever found. Imagine 1.5 tons of space metal crashing into the surface of the earth! 

The bottom two images are of the Springwater pallasite - Found in 1931 in Saskatchewan, Canada, with a recovered weight of ~68 kg (150 lbs). 

Both of these fantastic specimens can be seen on the second floor of The Field Museum, across the hall from the Grainger Hall of Gems. 

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These, are Pallasites.

Pallasites are stony-iron meteorites that contain gem quality olivine embedded within.

Pallasites formed when our solar system did. Back then there were even more planety type things wooshing about. Some of them were massive enough, and composed of enough radioactive materials to have a mantle and core and a crust, like Earth.

Pallasites are thought to have formed at the boundary between the mantle and core of these things, like something floating in the layer between oil and water. Then when two proto-planets crashed together, it freed the pallasites and sent them on their way.

They’re pretty rare, only 61 have been found, but damn are they pretty

What you are looking at here is a slice of the Fukang Meteorite. The rare meteorite was discovered in 2000, in the Gobi Desert in China’s Xinjiang Province.

It is a pallasite; a type of iron meteorite, quite rare, made out of large olivine crystals in an iron-nickel matrix. Olivine is a magnesium iron silicate, quite common in our planet’s subsurface, but which weathers fast when exposed to the surface.

Pallasites are extremely rare, even among meteorites (only about 1% of all meteorites are this type) and they are by far the most beautiful. Slices from the Fukang mass, as in this photo, are reminiscent of stained glass windows, crafted in the solar system.

Amazing.

-Jean

Photo courtesy of Arizona Meteorite Laboratory

For more photos and info see:http://upall.co/beautiful-and-mysterious-fukang-meteorite-1395.php

'Space Gem' asteroids created in space-borne mash-ups  |


A tiny fraction of meteorites on Earth contain strikingly beautiful, translucent, olive-green crystals embedded in an iron-nickel matrix. Called pallasites, these “space gems” have fascinated scientists since they were first identified as originating from outer space more than 200 years ago.

Now a new study published this week in Science (Nov. 16) shows that their origins were more dramatic than first thought. Using a carbon dioxide laser, a magnetic field, and a sophisticated recording device, a team of geophysicists, led by John Tarduno at the University of Rochester, has shown that the pallasites were likely formed when a smaller asteroid crashed into a planet-like body about 30 times smaller than earth, resulting in a mix of materials that make up the distinctive meteorites.

"The findings by John Tarduno and his team turn the original pallasite formation model on its head," said Joshua Feinberg, assistant professor of earth sciences at the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the study. "Their analysis of the pallasites has helped to significantly redefine our understanding of how these objects formed during the early history of our solar system."

Pallasites are made of iron-nickel and the translucent, gem-like mineral olivine, leading many scientists to assume they were formed where those two materials typically come together — at the boundary of the iron core and rocky mantle in an asteroid or other planetary body. Tarduno discovered that tiny metal grains in the olivine were magnetized in a common direction, a revelation that led the researchers to conclude that the pallasites must have been formed much farther from the core. continue reading