December

Slice of the Esquel meteorite

Found prior to 1951 near Chubut, Argentina [BM 2001, M16]

Natural History Museum, London, UK

EMu user since 2002

 

decemberThis beautiful specimen is a cut slice from the 1500kg Esquel pallasite. Pallasite meteorites are believed to have come from the core-mantle boundaries of melted and differentiated asteroids that were subsequently broken apart by impacts. They are composed of the green mineral olivine (an iron-magnesium silicate) set in a matrix of iron-nickel metal. This meteorite contains olivine of gem quality, commonly referred to as peridot. Peridot is also the birthstone of August.

Pallasites are named after the German naturalist Peter Pallas, who described and documented the pallasite type specimen (Krasnojarsk) in 1772. However, it was only decades later that the extraterrestrial nature of the Krasnojarsk sample, which also became known as the Pallas Iron, became known.

© Natural History Museum, London