Tabor: My 262 year old Relative

Twelve years ago, the Tabor Meteorite celebrated it’s 250th birthday on this planet. But to me Tabor is so much more than just a historical witnessed meteorite fall of advanced age. Tabor, Czech Republic is also the land of the people on my father’s side.

In fact, there is no reason to think that my ancestors missed out on any of the excitement that fell from the sky on that July 3rd evening way back in 1753.

Tabor face

The polished face of Tabor reveals plenty of activity even though it is an H5 chondrite, the second most common type after the L6.

Tabor drawing

This cross section of Tabor in-situ shows a much large stone compared to the few kilograms accounted for today.

Tabor close up

A closer look at Tabor shows some breccia, very nicely formed chondrules, and plenty of metal flake.

Tabor Met Bull entry

The Meteoritical Bulletin entry for Tabor.


I can imagine that a young multiple-great grandfather or grandmother staring up with wonder as a colorful light flew across the summer sky. The sight would make no sense, but would instill a gnawing curiosity, but not so intense as to be frightening. How do I know? Because back when I was ten years old, I saw the great 1972 Daylight Fireball.

I was fishing on Lolo creek southwest of Missoula, Montana. It was a beautiful day under a clear blue sky. I remember the meteor flying across the valley from south to north. It was colorful with bright pinks, greens, and blues. It left a thick smoke trail that lasted for a long time.

What I found interesting, in hindsight anyway, is that I remember being fascinated by the event, but it was so far beyond anything easily comprehendible that once the fireball disappeared and immediate shock wore off, I went back to fishing, and just figured I’d learn more about it later. Essentially, out of sight, out of mind. And I think the experience has taught me to have empathy with those folks who witnessed crazy astronomical events like a meteorite fall, but then moved on to something else without looking for either the thing that fell from the sky or for more information later.

Here’s a link with more information about the Great 1972 Fireball:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Great_Daylight_Fireball

Tabor specimen number

The panted number on Tabor looks appears to be from the Natural History Museum in Helsinki.

Tabor side number view

There are hints of red paint near the white specimen numbers. The Natural History Museum in Paris was known for using red paint for its numbers. Perhaps the French supplied the Fins with this piece.

Tabor reverse side

The rough side of Tabor shows a face that has likely looked back at humanity for centuries while the other side has been cut and polished within the past few decades.

 

…Until Next Time.

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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