by Matt Morgan of Mile High Meteorites
The Songyuan Meteorites
On the afternoon of August 15, 1993, the countryside near Songyuan City was witness to a small shower of meteorites. In total, 4 individuals were recovered, the largest weighing 28 kilograms and the smallest 2.5 kilograms. The 28-kilogram stone embedded itself in the ground to a depth of 60 centimeters. The strewn field is estimated to cover nearly 10 square kilometers.
Only one individual, weighing 6.4 kilograms, was made available to collectors. Two American dealers purchased the piece from the finders in 1998. The fusion crust was virtually absent from the stone; only a very small patch remained. The original finders apparently removed the thin, fragile crust, thinking it was dirt on the surface. The shape of the stone was quite interesting. It was not conical, square, blocky, or any of the other “typical” meteorite shapes. In fact, it looked like a large garnet, shaped somewhat like a dodecahedron!
kilogram Songyuan individual. Note the shape of the stone and the lack of
Photo by the author.
The cut surface revealed a greenish-gray matrix with mostly black chondrules and some small pores. It is an eye-dazzler in thin sections. While it was not completely obvious what type of ordinary chondrite it was, Dr. Alan Rubin at UCLA classified Songyuan (originally called Fuyu) as an L6, W1, S2. One thing has always intrigued me about Songyuan. The fall date is very similar to that of Mt. Tazerzait and Baszkówka; two meteorites that apparently came from the same parent body, but fell 3 years apart. To the naked eye, Songyuan looks very similar to these other witnessed falls. Could these three meteorites share something in common?
90-gram part slice of the Songyuan L6 chondrite. From the Matt Morgan Collection.