Cold Bokkeveld, 50mg Fragment

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Description

On the morning of Oct 12, 1838, there was a cloudless sky without wind, when about 9am, there was a strange noise in the air, resembling thunder and a brilliant fireball and smoke stream passed overhead. This spectacle terrified many who observed it, including local tribesmen and South African colonials. Numerous stones were recovered, including one that was too large to transport by horse (according to one report). Unfortunately, most of these stones did not survive and only a relatively-small amount was saved and put into museum collections.

This meteorite was quite different from any previously seen, and it later was revealed to be the first witnessed fall of a CM meteorite. Modern analysis shows that this meteorite is a carbonaceous chondrite of the CM2 type.

Numerous reports of the event exist, including this interesting note. “Dr. Truter, civil commissioner of Worcester, at the time of the fall observed the windows of his office shake as if by an earthquake, and the mercury in his barometer was found to be depressed to the lowest point of its range throughout the year. Attention was first excited by a violent explosion, followed by a rumbling noise, like that from a heavy wagon passing over stony ground; when, on looking up, they saw a blue stream of smoke, as if from fired gunpowder, passing over from SW to NE.”

An interesting anecdote from many years after the fall : One person said that he has seen a fine meteorite in the hands of a farmer in the country; it was picked up nearly sixty years ago, by a Hottentot, who saw it fall, and by him it was given to his master, the grandfather of the present possessor. This man has refused fifty dollars for it, as the captain of a ship said it would secure the possessor against the effects of a thunder storm.

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