Sikhote-Alin Meteorite

Also found in: Wikipedia.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The scientists simulated the impact of such a meteorite with the hot, volcanically-active, early Earth by placing samples of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite, an iron meteorite which fell in Siberia in 1947, in acid taken from the Hveradalur geothermal area in Iceland.
They include pieces of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite, which exploded above Vladivostok in eastern Siberia, in February 1947.
Tsvetkov's principal interest lies nearly 5,000 km east of Tunguska, where craters were formed by more than 100 fragments of the Sikhote-Alin meteorite. Sikhote-Alin, the orbit of which Tsvetkov describes as '.typically asteroidal," created the second-largest impact of the 20th century when it shattered before and after striking Earth on February 12, 1947.
However, not all of the Sikhote-Alin meteorites are as desirable as the heart-shaped artifact up for auction, Christie's says.