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.
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.
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.
“A certain Bydołek, a farmer from the village of Grzempy, while working in his homestead, suddenly saw a »fiery sphere« falling to the ground. While falling, the sphere broke off some branches of a nearby tree and became stuck in the ground. At the same time, a fierce, thunder-like clatter could be heard, and »fumes resembling burnt sulphur were present«...
The Pułtusk meteorite fell down near Pułtusk in the form of a shower of aerolites, spreading over an area of 127 km², between the villages of Tocznabiel, Wielgołas (from the south-west) as well as Rzewnie and Boruty (from the north-east). The “ball of fire” flew from south-west to north-east, dragging a whitish bent tail. This phenomenon was watched in many places in Poland, including, for example, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Königsberg, Kraków and Lviv.
In the meteorite classification, Imilac belongs to a small group called pallasites. They are intermediate meteorites between stony and iron meteorites. The metal does not constitute a conjoined and uninterrupted structure here, but it occurs in the form of larger and smaller fragments of meteorite iron fused with a mass of silicate minerals, mainly olivines.
The story of its discovery started in the area of Morasko village (at present, a district of Poznań) in 1914. During works connected with digging trenches for Prussian soldiers, Dr. Cobliner, the sergeant, found a heavy and rusty lump of iron in the ground, which weighed about 78 kilograms. The find was handed over to the Astronomical Observatory in Spandau near Berlin, where it was examined.
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.