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Valera – The Cow Killer

“It was past midnight…there was a strange noise…due to the dark of the night we saw nothing…the next morning a worker came to say that there was a cow killed under strange circumstances.” ~ Juan Delgado, 1972. On October 15th, 1972 in Trujillo, Venezuela, a meteor entered our atmosphere and killed a cow. Yes, it struck a cow and nearly cut it in half! The owner of the farm, a physician by the name of Argimiro Gonzalez, wasn’t particularly concerned or surprised. He rationalized that this sort of thing must happen from time to time and he ended up using the meteor fragment as a doorstop. Many years later an astronomer, Dr. Ignacio Ferrin, heard about the story and approached the heirs of Dr. Gonzalez. After verifying the story with several witnesses, Dr. Ferrin purchased the Valera meteorite which has the distinction of being one of the only documented fatal meteorite impacts.

On the evening of 1972 October 15, a bright light accompanied by a loud noise was witnessed near the El Tinajero farm.  The next morning, Dr. Arginiro Gonzales and his guest, Juan Dionicio Delgado, discovered that a cow had apparently been killed by a falling stone. The stone had broken into three pieces weighing 38, 8, and 4 kg, respectively.  The largest specimen remained outdoors for decades which is why this “fresh fall” has a weathering grade of W3.

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