Sikhote-Alin Meteorite

(redirected from Sikhote-Alin meteor)

Sikhote-Alin’ Meteorite

 

the largest iron meteorite to be observed during its fall and one of nature’s unique phenomena. The total weight of the meteorite was approximately 70 tons. The meteorite fell on Feb. 12, 1947, at 10:38 A.M. local daylight saving time in the western spurs of Sikhote-Alin’, Primor’e Krai, RSFSR. Moving through the earth’s atmosphere at an extremely high speed, the meteorite shattered into thousands of fragments and fell as a shower of iron meteorites over an area of 3 sq km. The fall was accompanied by the appearance of a bolide visible in Khabarovsk and Primor’e krais of the RSFSR over a radius of 400 km. The bolide left a dusty train in its path that was visible for several hours. After the disappearance of the bolide, booms, rumblings, and a roaring sound were heard, and the ground and buildings were felt to tremble in some areas. Study of the meteorite shower and collection of the fallen fragments were conducted by a series of expeditions of the Committee on Meteorites of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR under the direction of V. G. Fesenkov, E. L. Krinov, and S. S. Fonton. At the location where the meteorite fell, there were found 24 meteorite craters with diameters from 9 to 26 m, 98 penetration funnels with diameters from 0.5 to 9 m, and 78 alveoles with diameters of less than 0.5 m; all the formations resulted from the fall of separate meteorites. The larger meteorites, with weights of several hundred kg to several tons, were shattered into a multitude of fragments upon impact on rocky cliffs; the meteorite dust formed as a result was scattered over the ground in craters and their vicinity. Numerous small meteorites, with weights ranging from fractions of a gram to several kilograms, were dispersed throughout the taiga; by the mid-1970’s more than 3,500 fragments had been collected. The largest whole meteorites weigh 1,745, 1,000, 700, 500, 450, and 350 kg. The total weight of the collected meteorite material, including whole meteorites and fragments, is approximately 27 tons.

The chemical composition of the Sikhote-Alin’ meteorite in percentages by weight is as follows: Fe, 93.29; Ni, 5.94; Co, 0.38; Cu, 0.03; P, 0.56; and S, 0.28. Other chemical elements are present in negligible quantities.

REFERENCE

Sikhote-Alinskii zheleznyi meteoritnyi dozhd: [Sb. St.], vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1959–63.

E. L. KRINOV