An Article In Meteorite Times Magazine
Martin Horejsi's Meteorite and Tektite Books


Finally, Let There Be Light:

The Willamette Iron

A Well-lit Display...

under the Hayden Planetaruim...

in the Cullman Hall of the Universe...

in the Rose Center for Earth and Space...

at the American Museum of Natural History...

in New York City.

On display under the globular Hayden Planetarium in the Cullman Hall of the Universe is the great Willamette meteorite. The picture below documents my earlier vist to the Willamette as it sat in the dark hallway of its previous home; alone and longing for the bright lights and fame New York City owes it.

Today, the grand Willamette iron is shared with the world in a way it can be easily and enjoyably seen. But what makes this iron's display truly special is that the massive space rock is presented in bright natural light, with easy access, and full 360 degree viewing!

A short walk away is the largest iron in captivity, the Anighito iron from Cape York, Greenland. However, the presentation of that iron leaves much to be desired. Here is last month's installment of The Accretion Desk (October 2006) when I visited that wondrous meteorite.

Willamette is a 14 ton spacecraft that crash-landed on earth. The amazing shape of this grand iron is forever preserved in the conical shape violently carved into the hard metal by our generally soft atmosphere.


Like visiting a alien planet...well, actually it is visiting an alien planet, the wild texture of Willamette is beyond description.

If there was one iron meteorite I could display in my home, Willamette would be it. Of course Cabin Creek would be much more practical, and Ensisheim more historic, but Willamette is the true King in my mind.

Flinging photons bouncing off the plethoria of smooth white surfaces illuminate the iron from all angles.

Here, the business end of the Willamette iron is cradled gently in a complementary but man-made iron.

Is it just my imagination, or does the face in the Willamette have overtones to Edvard Munch's painting?

Speaking of The Scream, here is a close up of an individual of Sikhote-Alin in my collection displaying a rather disturbing rendition of the famous painting sculpted from once-molton iron.

I've read that the human brain is especially well adapted to recognize a human face whether real or not. I wonder if there is an even greater propensity for imagination when the face appear to be in distress.

As if the Willamette iron was not enough, also on display is a meter-long slice of Esquel pallasite!

Large slices of Esquel are always a treat to look at, let alone play with. The above picture is me holding a nice slice of Esquel that Bob Haag was offering at the Tucson show. For only 1/10 of a million dollars, this piece of cosmic art could be hanging on the wall above your sofa!


Here is a close up of the displayed Esquel highlighting the largest solid region of olivine crystals.

Winding down another Accretion Desk, and almost another year, it is again refreshing to see how all things meteorite have both changed, and yet remained the same. With a Green Card in hand to continue working in the Big Apple, one cannot help but wonder what other changes might lay ahead for the largest meteorite found in the United States, and the 9th largest in the world.

The Accretion Desk welcomes all comments and feedback.