46º9'36" N., 134º39'12" E. Maritime Territory, Federated SSR, USSR Fell 1947,
February 12, 1038 hrs, U. T. Iron. Octahedrite, coarsest (9 mm) (IIB)
The Sikhote-Alin meteorite was seen to fall on February 12, 1947 at 10:38 AM (UT), in the
Sikhote-Alin mountains of Russia about 270 miles NE of Vladivolstok. The thousands of people who
saw and heard the fall (some up to 200 miles away) reported a smoke trail 20 miles long with
the meteorite coming in at about 41 degrees from about 15 degrees East of North.
believe it entered the atmosphere at about 31,000 miles per hour and began to break up almost
immediately but the main mass fragmented in a violent explosion at the relatively low altitude
of about 3.5 miles. The fragments travelled together and landed in elliptical areas of about
half a square mile, creating a number of impact craters up to 85 feet across. This meteorite was
asteroid size, it is estimated to have weighed several HUNDRED TONS,and many tons have been
recovered. It impacted in the deep forest of the Sikhote-Alin mountains, and created many
craters. Altogether 122 impact holes were found
that broke off prior to the main explosion are found with fusion crust and atmospheric ablation.
The fragments from the main explosion look more like shrapnel and can have some very interesting
shapes and sizes.
This is a II-B iron meteorite classed as a very course octahedrite. The bulk
of the material is iron, but it averages 5.9% Nickel, 0.42% Cobalt, 0.46% Phosphorus, 0.28%
Sulphur, with traces of Galenium,Germanium and Iridium. The following rare minerals have all so
been noted in it : Kamacite,Tacnite, Plessite, Schreibersite, Rhabites, Troilite and Chromite.
The flaming fireball, as bright as the sun, cast moving shadows in broad daylight as it passed
by observers. It is estimated that over 23000kg fell that morning leaving a smoke trail
which could be seen in the sky for hours. The meteorite impacted the mountains with a huge
explosion which was felt over 100 miles away.
The meteorite exploded many times, high in the
atmosphere, so thousands of pieces rained destruction on the forest. Hundreds of trees
where blown down and shredded by the metal shards like bomb shrapnel, thus the name for
the twisted ripped pieces found. Some pieces are individuals, complete pieces that burned
high up, and show the typical regmaglypts of iron meteorites. The shrapnel pieces are shredded
metal, ripped apart by the unimaginable force of air pressure on a body moving at over 15000
miles per hour! This is incredible to imagine the forces needed to shred solid iron just
The largest unbroken individual specimen,
was 1,745 kg, was first discovered in 1950 in a rather small pit.
When the main mass exploded, it blasted fragments in every direction. Pieces were even found
embedded in nearby trees. A 13.6 kg specimen was thus found firmly embedded in a partly split,
70 cm thick cedar tree
This is 69.3 grams with a black fusion crust.