The Beautiful Chrysanthemum Meteorite

Photo Credit: Emaan Baqai/UCLA Daily Bruin senior staff

The Chrysanthemum meteorite is easily one of the most beautiful meteorites ever recovered in the USA. Some would say in the world, but there is strong competition for that title. As with all subjective matters, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In this case, the beauty is based on the complex petal-shaped sculpting and orientation it acquired during its violent entry into our atmosphere and the luck to have landed nearly intact in the desert sands.

The meteorite was found by K. and J. Eltrich in 2011 when they stopped to have lunch while hiking near Baker, California, in the Mojave Desert. The stone is approximately 5 inches long, 6 inches wide and about 4 inches thick.

“It was like finding a lottery ticket,” Ken Eltrich said. “I just happened to look down and see the back side of this stone and … it was just different from the other rocks.” Mr. Eltrich’s statement is almost correct. Finding a meteorite is like finding a WINNING lottery ticket. However, finding an exceptional meteorite like the Chrysanthemum  meteorite defies all the odds and is like winning the MEGA MILLIONS jackpot. Just for the record, you are about 20,000 time more likely to be struck by lightning than of winning the Mega Millions lottery.


Chrysanthemum Grandiflorum

So, why is it called the Chrysanthemum meteorite? I think this picture answers the question quite well!

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Here is an incomplete list of other “famously” oriented meteorites: Middlesbrough (UK), Karakol (Kazakhstan), Krähenberg (Germany), Lafayette (Indiana) and Adamana.

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