MARE METEORITICS

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Henbury History


Name: Henbury
Location: Northern Territory, Australia
Type: Medium Octahedrite IIIA

The Henbury meteorite and crater field is situated 11 km west-southwest of Henbury Cattle Station in the heart of arid Central Australia. 13 individual craters were discovered, all within a radius of one-half square mile. The meteorites and craters had been known for some time by the local residents, when in 1931 Alderman and Bedford organized small parties in order to examine the craters and recover the meteorites. Shortly after the discovery, large quantities of this meteorite were removed from the area, and over the years the site has been almost completely stripped of its fragments. As a result, most of the area has been closed by the government and collecting is forbidden. The natives have a legend that the craters were formed during a fiery explosion; they call the place "Chindu chinna waru chingi yabu" which means "Sun walk fire devil rock". Under the circumstances it is quite possible that Henbury is a witnessed fall. It may be estimated that by now at least 1,200 kg iron meteorite fragments have been recovered from the crater field, most of the material having been collected from sites outside the craters. The numerous common small slugs represent the ultimate stage in solid state alterations during cratering impact. Many of the fragments have ragged edges and protruding spikes. Henbury is interesting, too, because it displays various degrees of weathering, which over about 5,000 years, ranges from virtually no removal of iron to complete disintegration to shale-balls. The major factor in producing this range of weathering is mainly due to the depth of burial and access of water. A few shale-balls have been found. They have been recovered from some depth under the present surface and represent a late stage in weathering. Little, if any, unoxidized iron is still present. A typical shale-ball exhibits a bread crust structure with centimeter-deep fissures and grooves.

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