MARE METEORITICS

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Sikhote Alin History



Name: Sikhote Alin
Location: Maritime Territory
Federated SSR, U.S.S.R.

Type: Coarse, Octahedrite IB

The largest shower in historical time occurred in Eastern Siberia on February 12, 1947. The unique phenonomenon was observed by many eyewitnesses and has been the subject of numerous, very thorough studies by the Russian scientists. In full daylight, a fireball moved from north to south and, about 10:38 A.M. local time, fragmented in the Earth's atmosphere. When this iron fell it went off like a grenade. The debris covered an elliptical area of 1.6 km on the snow-covered western spurs of the Sikhote-Alin mountains. The apparent diameter of the bolide with its luminous envelope was estimated to be 600 m. The brightness exceeded that of the sun, according to eyewitnesses, and the dust trail was observed for several hours before the particles precipitated or were scattered by the wind. Most of the impacting meteorites did not, however, penetrate the eluvial and alluvial debris which covered the bedrock with 1-2 m thick layers, and moreover, at the time of impact, were solidly frozen to a depth of one meter. Altogether 122 impact holes were found with diameters ranging from 26 to 0.5 m and with depths ranging from 12 to 1 m. It appears plausible that the incoming bolide had a mass of about 70 tons fell including dust. It split finally at an altitude of about 6 km and scattered thousands of ragged fragments resembling bombshell fragments within an elliptical area. It is believed that many fragments were detached early in the flight and that these proceeded as "sputniks" along with the main mass. The small area over which specimens are scattered suggests that the meteorite broke up very late in the atmosphere. In many holes the impacting body had survived as an entity, but in a number of other holes it had broken up completely. One such hole furnished 464 specimens totaling 256 kg. The largest unbroken individual specimen , was 1,745 kg, was first discovered in 1950 in a rather small pit. Several fragments had hit the trees of the dense taiga forest and had either broken them or damaged them. A 13.6 kg specimen was thus found firmly embedded in a partly split, 70 cm thick cedar tree.

Never published in the Meteoritical Society Bulletins but some information is available.
Check out their web site at http://www.meteoriticalsociety.org/

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