The St. Michel, Finland Meteorite – A Lifetime of Breakage

A July 1910 Witnessed Fall: The St. Michel, Finland Meteorite

A Lifetime of Breakage

St. Michel Meteorite
 

Impressive breccias such as St. Michel provide obvious visual evidence of near-catastrophic injury before arriving on earth. Breccias are rocks composed of various sized visible pieces of angular rock cemented together.

But that was just the beginning for St. Michel. Although its body was already heavily scarred from its time in space, no sympathy was given to St. Michel as it slammed into the rocky ground of Finland further an finally breaking it into pieces forever.


St. Michel Meteorite
 
The St. Michel meteorite is named after its location of fall in Finland with was named after the French name for Saint Michael who was a archangel in many religious teachings.In Hebrew, Michael means “who is like God.” However, given the fractured, troubled nature of the St. Michel brecciated L6 chondrite I’d guess it is more representative of man than God.As if enough Devine breakage has not been presented, another personal breakage story surfaced when Arnaud Tricottet experienced a moment of synchronicity with St. Michel. Here is his tale (scroll down half way).

St. Michel Meteorite

 
This crust was installed a little over a century ago, yet doesn’t look much different from recently fallen meteorites.Only a scant 17kg of St. Michel was recovered with the bulk being in two broken stones, one of some 6.8kg and another located 200m away of 9.6kg. It was obvious that the two stones where once one and likely separated high in the atmosphere.

St. Michel Meteorite
 
Picasso was a master of painting in more than one dimension. I get the same pleasure from staring into a beautiful breccia like St. Michel as I do from a Picasso painting. It never gets old. Only richer.Some meteorites are collectible because of their history. Some because of their look. And some because of their name. In the case of St. Michel, I am fond of this meteorite for all three reasons.

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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