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In the classification of meteorites, Vaca Muerta belongs to a small group of iron and stone meteorites known as mesosiderites. Mesosiderites are meteorites containing both stone and iron parts. Metal does not constitute a consolidated and unbroken structure, but appears in the form of larger or smaller fragments of meteorite iron melted into a mass of silicate minerals.

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In the classification of meteorites, Vaca Muerta belongs to a small group of iron and stone meteorites known as mesosiderites. Mesosiderites are meteorites containing both stone and iron parts. Metal does not constitute a consolidated and unbroken structure, but appears in the form of larger or smaller fragments of meteorite iron melted into a mass of silicate minerals.
The meteorite weighing 20 kg was found in 1861 in the Atacama Desert (Chile) near the Vaca Muerta ravine. The meteorite was given the name of the ravine (dead cow in Spanish) by Ignacy Domeyko (1802–1889) — mineralogist and geologist operating in Chile, who was the first to research it. Also, other iron and stone meteorites — Imilac pallasites — fell on the Atacama Desert and they were found by Domeyko, too.
This meteorite joined the collection in 1884 as a donation from Ignacy Domeyko. It was given by him personally, during his stay in Kraków, when he visited the library and rooms of the Kraków Academy of Learning as recalled by him in the fifth volume of his diary that was published in 1962–1963 in Wrocław.
The original chest in which the exhibit was kept together with the other meteorite was also brought to Poland.

Elaborated by the Geological Museum of the Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences, © all rights reserved

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Cosmic dust…

Every year approximately one million tons of cosmic material enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Not only in the form of meteorites, which in fact constitute an insignificant percentage of falls, but primarily in the form of cosmic dust. Traces were found in Małopolska and among other places it has been detected in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

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Every year approximately one million tons of cosmic material enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Not only in the form of meteorites, which in fact constitute an insignificant percentage of falls, but primarily in the form of cosmic dust. Traces were found in Małopolska and among other places it has been detected in the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
However, progressive air pollution makes it hard to study this cosmic dust material as it is more and more difficult to separate it from the substances which are a side effect of human industrial activity.
But a very simple experiment can be done – you only need to dissolve rock salt in water and then bring a magnet nearer to the dissolved sediment. The particles that cling to the magnet are cosmic dust – traces of cosmic material.

Elaborated by Anna Berestecka (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

Bibliography:
Andrzej Manecki, Meteoryty, pyły kosmiczne i pyły księżycowe, Warszawa-Kraków 1975.

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If you happen to see a falling meteorite – a guide…

Following the advice of Professor Andrzej Manecki, an eminent cosmologist and expert on meteorites, we present a short briefing addressed to those lucky ones who will witness the fall of cosmic material.

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Following the advice of Professor Andrzej Manecki, an eminent cosmologist and expert on meteorites, we present a short briefing addressed to those lucky ones who will witness the fall of cosmic material:
– You should note the general location and the direction of the meteorite’s fall
– The time between noticing the object and its collision with the Earth’s atmosphere is merely a few seconds
– If you manage to reach the landing site, you can start studying the object immediately without fear of being burnt (as meteorites cool down very quickly)
– The location of the crater created in the place of the fall should be noted (is it straight or at an angle)
– It is advisable to note some characteristics of the fall (the brightness of the meteorite during the fall, the surrounding sounds – e.g. possible explosions)
– You should inform the appropriate bodies – e.g. The Department of Mineralogy and Geochemistry of AGH University of Science and Technology

It is also recommended to inform the editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, who will be sure to publicise the event thoroughly.

Elaborated by Anna Besrestecka (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

Bibliography:
Andrzej Manecki, Meteoryty, pyły kosmiczne i pyły księżycowe, Warszawa-Kraków 1975.

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Olympic meteorite

During the Olympic Games in Sochi the organisers announced that participants who won a gold medal on 15 February would receive a special meteorite medal containing a piece of the Chelyabinsk space rock. The rock, which had fallen a year before in especially dramatic circumstances, injured about 1,600 people and caused damage to several thousand buildings.

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During the Olympic Games in Sochi the organisers announced that participants who won a gold medal on 15 February would receive a special meteorite medal containing a piece of the Chelyabinsk space rock. The rock, which had fallen a year before in especially dramatic circumstances, injured about 1,600 people and caused damage to several thousand buildings. In the end, the idea was not implemented as the International Olympic Committee would not accept any adding of extra elements or signs to medals handed out to the Olympic champions.
Yet it was not the first idea of the Russians to make use of cosmic material – the authorities in Chelyabinsk together with local businessmen decided to raise funds for the repairs of the damage by selling a special product – perfume with the scent of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. A small bottle of perfume with a typical stone and metallic scent can be found, among others, at online auctions. Car air fresheners having the predominant note of metal, stone and ozone have been also available for sale…

Elaborated by Anna Berestecka (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

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“Vaca Muerta” meteorite

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Audio

Meteoryt „Vaca Muerta” Tells: Barbara Kietlińska-Michalik
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Meteoryt „Vaca Muerta” [audiodeskrypcja] Tells: Fundacja na Rzecz Rozwoju Audiodeskrypcji KATARYNKA
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