-Russell Kempton, New England Meteoritical Services
On June 9th at 11:05 PM MST, people living in Alberta,
Canada witnessed a fireball moving swiftly across the
night sky. Loud detonations were reported as the
fireball flew out of the northwest. Moments later, the
largest known enstatite chondrite arrived on Earth. In
specific, Abee is an impact-melt breccia, EH chondrite.
The above block of Abee now resides in my collection. I discovered the specimen a dozen years ago in a dormant collection. But when the collection became active again, I did not hesitate to make a trade offer.
|This is what the Abee specimen looked like a decade ago. It was a roughly cut, unpolished chunk whose inner beauty had yet to be revealed.|
This image is of the apparently oriented single mass of
Abee as found. It took five days before this enstatite
chondrite was recovered.
Ninety kilometers north of Edmonton, Canada is the town of Abee where a man named Harry Buryn lived. He discovered a hole a meter in diameter and almost two meters deep in his wheat field. Sitting peacefully at the bottom of the hole was a scorched but intact alien of some 107 kilograms. Further inspection of the impact pit revealed that it was "inclined at an angle of 25.5 degrees to the vertical."
It is reported that Eugene Poitevin, Chief of the Mineral Division and Collection Curator of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), determined Abee to be of the enstatite chondrite variety.
Poitevin offered the sum of $1,062 (Canadian) or $10 per kg to Buryn for the stone. And the official transfer of Abee, the third largest meteorite to be found in Canada, to the collections of the Geological Society of Canada took place on December 9, 1952--exactly six months after Abee arrived on earth.
Russ Kempton wrote of Abee:
"Abee's brecciated structure is a vivid representation of a violent and complex sequence of impacts -- large angular clasts of partly melted material with igneous oldhamite-rich dark inclusions, all embedded within a previously melted, but similar, groundmass."
Kempton authored a wonderful Centerpiece article in Meteorite Magazine about Abee even alluding to the planet Mercury as Abee's birthplace. The article is available online at:
I see a snow covered Mount Everest with large rocks falling on it from above. What do you see?
|In another view, it is possible to see the yellowish hue that Abee exudes.|
What finally breathed new life into my Abee block was two
hours of polishing under the watchful eye of Tom Phillips.
The black dud of a specimen bloomed into an incredible show
piece worthy of prominent display.
Often it is amazing what treasures lie hidden under the unpolished skin of the meteorites in our collections. And to think that all it takes to expose the geologic masterpieces is the right equipment and a little elbow grease.