Oriented Canyon Diablo Meteorite? I hope so.

The irons and iron fragments from Canyon Diablo or Meteorite Crater, or Meteor Crater, or Barringer Crater, or Coon Mountain or any of several other names is a staple in every collection. From huge display pieces to micro mounts, Canyon Diablo, or CDs, are important representative of meteorite history, meteorite science, and meteorite collecting.

So as a meteorite collector, I have many specimens of Canyon Diablo from near-microscopic metallic spheroids, to multi-kilo individuals. I have polished specimens, rusty fragments, and beautiful individuals with unique shapes and holes. But one that has peaked my interest lately is a 2.5kg individual that sure looks like it could be oriented. In a nutshell, its triangular with a bulged convex face on one side and a lightly concave face on the other side.

I’ve yet to find any documented reports of oriented individuals of Canyon Diablo, but I have heard that many folks don’t think there are. In addition to looking at hundreds or more likely thousands of CD specimens, three other sources are my go-tos for info on Canyon Diablo. One is a 1972 article simply tiled “The Canyon Diablo Meteorite” by the Soviet scientist Gennady P. Vdovykin.

Another source is Jim Tobin’s book (now in it’s third edition) titled Meteor Crater. Any my final go-to source is, of course, the 1972 edition of Handbook of iron meteorites, their history, distribution, composition, and structure by Vagn F. Buchwald.

So in this installment of The Accretion Desk, I am presenting a series of pictures the highlight the shape of the individual I’m wondering about. Could this be an oriented Canyon Diablo? I’d like to think so, but please comment. Not that consensus will make it so, but I’m certainly curious about what other see in this individual.

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.