The Supuhee, India Chondrite fell to earth in the form of six individual stones back in 1865. Several of those stones landed on an indigo factory but unlike post-industrial revolution factory to follow, the indigo factory was where dyes were made and fabric was dyed.
Indigo dye begins with the leaves of the indigo plant. The leaves are steeped in warm water until the indican, or blue color, is released. Then soda is added raising the pH. Add a little oxygen to the mix by aggressive string, and you have a beautiful precipitate settling to the bottom of your vat. Here are a couple pictures of what the indigo factory might have looked like.
Imagine tossing golf balls at the factory from a distance. In addition to the astronomically small odds of meteorites falling, add the danger of losing them into a vat of warm dye given that the factory is mostly vats of warm dye.
When the dust settled, a total of six individuals were recovered, with only five of them making it into collections. Of the five, three were smaller stones and they were the ones that fell on the Bubuowly Indigo Factory.
The Catalogue of Meteorites lists a specimen in their collection as number 41050, a 55g nearly complete stone and one that was part of the trio of “hammers” that landed on (in?) the Bubuowly Indigo Factory. Today, that stone is nine grams lighter and no longer in the British collection. For the moment it is in my collection.
This 80% individual is a fully crusted oval specimen with one section removed providing a wonderful window into a very busy H6 chondrite. The brecciated matrix is lightly similar to Peekskill, another H6 breccia that fell 127 years after Supuhee.
William Dalrymple wrote in his 2012 book White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
“India has always had a strange way with her conquerors. In defeat, she beckons them in, then slowly seduces, assimilates and transforms them.”
I believe the same can be said about Indian meteorites. From Shergotty, to Goalpara. From Haraiya to Kendrapara, the meteorites of India transform collectors and collections.
Until next time….