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Home>Learn and Explore!>Learn About Meteorites>Gibeon Meteorite Slices: The Widmanstatten Pattern
 

Gibeon Meteorite Slices: The Widmanstatten Pattern

Most meteorites with a high iron content—such as the Gibeon Meteorite—were formed in the cores of asteroids at temperatures up to and over 2,500 degrees F., and were originally completely molten.

Very gradually—at a rate of perhaps 18-180 degrees F. per million years—the liquid metal cooled and began to crystallize. In cases where the percentage of nickel to iron in the cooling mixture was "just right," two alloys, Taenite and Kamacite, would form slightly different crystal structures which grew into and over each other.

The resulting intricate designs created by this intergrowth are called "Widmanstätten Figures" and are characteristic of many iron meteorites. Radiometric dating indicates the crystallization of Taenite and Kamacite in the Gibeon Meteorite took place more than four billion years ago!

The pieces we offer have been sliced and etched with acid to show the Widmanstätten Figures clearly. (The etching process, by the way, is described in detail in Rocks from Space.) Despite the time and care involved in etching them, Gibeon Meteorite slices are surprisingly inexpensive!

View Gibeon Meteorite fragments.

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