Nantan Meteorites

Nantan Meteorites

"Zhengde 11th year, summertime in May, stars fell down from a northwest direction, five or six-fold long, waving like snakes and dragons, bright like lightning; then they disappeared in seconds."

This entry appears in Nantan County's archives in 1516, recording the oldest observed meteorite fall in the world. However, the Chinese people didn't know they had seen a meteorite fall until 1958, when the strewn field was discovered by farmers looking for iron ore to make steel for the "New China." When these heavy, iron-rich "rocks" wouldn't melt, further investigation showed them to be iron meteorites.

Because of the humid climate where this meteor struck, near Lihu town in the Guangxi province, the outer, melted layer of each fragment has broken away, revealing its core. The octahedral crystallization of the iron can be seen clearly, making these very interesting-looking specimens. Nantan meteorites contain 92.35% iron, 7% nickel, and at least 30 other minerals and trace elements (including several rare minerals).


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