September 1997 Witnessed Fall: Worden, Michigan. A “Fender Bender” Meteorite

An September 1997 Witnessed Fall: Worden, Michigan USA

Worden: A Fender Bender Meteorite

Worden Meteorite
 

For a five, Worden is filled with superb round chondrules. This 113g complete slice captures the essence of what was once a kilo and a half stone.

Meteorites that land on cars deserve a special place in the subcategory of witnessed falls affectionately known as hammers. I like the term “Fender Bender” to describe this exclusive class of meteorites.

Three famous Fender Bending meteorites are Benld, Peekskill and Worden. But bending fenders is not the only thing these stones have in common. They also share fall dates around the same time of year, and Worden and Benld included garage damage on their résumé in addition to autos, and Worden and Peekskill both hit red cars.


Worden Meteorite
 
It is funny to think about a car being dented by a bag of chondrules, but that’s what happened here. A red 1988 Toyota Celica 2-door sedan had its roof dented by this cosmic hitchhiker.Some pictures of the damaged car are posted hereand here

 

Worden Meteorite

 
This is other side of the slice. Although it looks like the slice might taper to a razor’s edge, that’s hardly the case. This thick slice could still do substantial damage with thrown at another car. Why not the same car?Apparently the original earthly target, the ’88 Toyota, has long since retired to the junkyard.

 


Worden Meteorite
 
As an L chondrite, it is on the lower end of the free metal spectrum, but that doesn’t stop Worden from trying.The sidelighting highlights glint the fresh iron.

 


Worden Meteorite
 
Still splattered with Celica blood, the lack of damage of the fusion crust reminds us that under the fragile color, solid rock is found.

 


Worden Meteorite
 
Another side of the thin crust on my thick slice.This edge is not as smooth as the others. I wonder if there was some orientation during its fall. That would be my preference, however, more likely the stone broke apart high up in the atmosphere creating a more jagged but still fully crusted face.

 


Worden was a meteorite that when it hit the market, I jumped in for the biggest piece I could get. At the time, this slice was the third largest piece of Worden. I don’t know where it falls in the collection pecking order today, but like all Fender Bender meteorites, the Worden stone’s fame and value will long outlast any man-made jalopy.

Until next time….


The Accretion Desk welcomes all comments and feedback. accretiondesk@gmail.com

About the Author

Martin Horejsi
Dr. Martin Horejsi is a Professor of Instructional Technology and Science Education at The University of Montana. A long-time meteorite collector and writer, before publishing his column The Accretion Desk in The Meteorite Times, he contributed often and wrote the column From The Strewnfields in Meteorite Magazine. Horejsi is currently a monthly columnist in The Science Teacher, a journal by the National Science Teachers Association. Horejsi specializes in the collection and study of historic witnessed fall meteorites with the older, smaller, and rarer the better. Although his meteorite collection once numbered over a thousand pieces with near that many different locations, several large trades and sales have streamlined the collection to about 250 locations with all but 10 being important witnessed falls. Many of the significant specimens in Horejsi's collection are historic witnessed falls that once occupied prominence in the meteorite collections of Robert A. Haag, James Schwade, and Michael Farmer. Other important specimens were acquired through institutional trades including those from The Smithsonian Institution, Arizona State University, and other universities.
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