Mundrabilla History

Name: Mundrabilla
Location: Nullarbor Plain, Western Australia
Type: Octahedrite, Medium IRANOM with Sulphide and Silicate Inclusions

A mass of 112 grams was discovered in 1911 by Mr. H. Kent, a member of the Transcontinental Railway Survey party, on the part of the Nullarbor Plain known as Premier Downs. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Kent discovered another small mass, of 116 grams, in the vicinity. Both meteorites were complete individual masses of a peculiar knuckle-bone shape. A third mass, of 99 grams, was reported later. In 1965 McCall & De Laeter reported a fourth mass, of 108 grams. The finder reported it to be part of a very large mass, but no further particulars became available until Wilson & Cooney (1967) reported the discovery of two huge masses, estimated to weigh 4-6 tons and 10-12 tons, respectively. Unfortunately, these authors coined a new - and third - name for this fall, Mundrabilla, neglecting the fact that Simpson (1912; 1938) and simpson & Bowley (1914) had already dealt with the occurrence very efficiently on the basis of the small samples available at a relatively early stage. Wilson & Cooney noted that the masses had previously been known to a rabbit trapper, presumably a Mr. Harrison, but they were apparently not aware of other small masses having been found and described on several previous occasions. At about the same time two additional small samples, of 66.5 grams and 178 grams were discovered by still other parties. In view of the fact that the knuckle-bone shaped small masses represent the material from the main masses very well, and considering that they were well described, with analyses, as early as 1912, it appears unfortunate that the name Premier Downs has been overruled by the name Mundrabilla. There was evidence of fragmentation on the larger mass in a sharp, angular, vertical face which matched in size and shape a similar sharp face on the smaller mass. This appears plausible since the two masses were found at a distance of only 180m from each other. They probably seperated very late during the atmospheric flight. The masses, particularly the large ones, exhibit a very unusual exterior on the exposed topsides. The surfaces are knobby with numerous cavities, 1-3 cm across and 1-2 cm deep. The holes indicate missing troilite; whether it burned out in the atmosphere or weathered away during long terrestrial exposure, or, plausibly, a combination of both has produced the effects, is difficult to say. The meteorites of this fall are all corroded, and the fusion crusts have been lost.

This meteorite was published in the Meteoritical Society Bulletin No. 61
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