Ochansk: If it’s abundant, it better be good

An August 1887 Witnessed Fall: Ochansk, Russia

Ochansk:

If it’s abundant,

it better be good.

Ochansk Meteorite
 

With 500kg of the brecciated H4 named Ochansk arriving on earth, a collector desiring a piece should focus on collectability and a historical paper trail.

In this particular case, the specimen has traveled through at least four documented collections.

At about one o’clock in the afternoon on August 30, 1887, 500kg of H4 chondrite fell from the sky following a glowing meteor and many loud sounds. Landing near the village of Tabory, near Okhansk, the now-named meteorite has made its way into most collections worldwide.

The largest specimen that fell was recorded to be 115kg, and the current main mass is listed as 100kg and living in the University of Kazan in Tatarstan, Russia.


Ochansk Meteorite
 
Ochansk is a cement meteorite. In other words, it would be perfectly camouflaged if it fell into a pile of broken concrete.

Ochansk Meteorite

 
The specimen label of 267A.1 is from a famous collector and mineral dealer who used the number/letter/decimal designation as a direct reference to the fourth edition of the Catalogue of Meteorites.The label uses a designation from the 1985 version of the Catalogue (aka: the Blue Book). In this case, the meteorite that contains this labile is found on page 267, and is the first meteorite on the first column of the page.

Ochansk Meteorite card
 
Specimens with cards from the Humboldt University in Berlin are exceedingly rare these days. In some cases, the cards may be worth more than the actual specimen, but of course of little value without the specimen.

Collecting historical witnessed falls often requires the virtues of patience and perseverance. However, those virtues don’t always apply to the simple acquiring of the locality, but sometimes also to the necessity of an exceptional specimen to represent a well-distributed meteorite.

 

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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