Martin Horejsi

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


A June 1939 Witnessed Fall: Chervony Kut, Ukraine

A Lovely Zebra from Space


Vouillé, France meteorite


The total known weight of the single eucrite stone named Chervony Kut might be 1692g or maybe 1800g or maybe even 1700g. It all depends on what source you choose to be live.

But no matter what, the 108g difference between largest and smallest weights is hardly something to worry about.

One of the fun aspects of meteorite collecting is to compare specimens both when acquiring new material, or comparing similar pieces in other collections. However, in the case of Chervrony Kut, there is so little material in collections that the Smithsonian claims only 52g, University of New Mexico holds 2g, and a total of zero grams are listed in the Natural History Museum in London.

That doesn't mean the rest of the initial 1700g or so are lost. Instead, the Academy of Science in Moscow holds over a kilogram of Chervony Kut leaving not much unaccounted for or to share among the rest of the world.

Vouillé, France meteorite


Chervony Kut fell in Sumska Province, Ukraine on June 23, 1939. Not much is written about the fall, but given intense changes occurring in that area in 1939, we should be happy that any account was recorded let alone the material preserved.

A fabulous block of igneous rock. Large enough to grasp the curvature of the initial mass, the tar-like crust, shiny from all angles, stands in stark contrast to the snowy matrix.

In an article titled Live Iron-60 in the Early Solar System by Shukolyukov and Lugmair, the following inferences were made:

Not only was 60Fe present at the time of melting and differentiation (that is, Fe-Ni fractionation) of the parent body of Chervony Kut but also later at the time when basaltic magma solidified at or near the surface of the planetesimal.

The inferred abundance of 60Fe suggests that its decay alone could have provided sufficient heat to melt small (diameters of several hundred kilometers) planetary bodies shortly after their accretion.

Vouillé, France meteorite


One edge is a rough cut, the other broken. Compared to Millbillillie, I prefer the flavor of the black and white of Chervony Kut.

In another article that included Chervony Kut titled 244PU FISSION XE IN THE CHERVONY KUT AND VETLUGA ACHONDRITES by Shukolyukov, Minh, & Scripnik the following conclusions and observations were made:

The basaltic Chervony Kut and Vetluga achondrites are normal eucrites and have the mineral composition and structure like that of the Juvinas meteorite. The Chervony Kut achondrite is non-breccia eucrite with homogenously distributed pyroxene and plagioclase crystals.

The average crystal size is of about 1 mm. The structure of the meteorite is gabbroic and subophitic but more coarse-grained in comparison with that of the Stannern and Juvinas meteorites. The empty spaces between great crystals of basic rock were filled up by fine grain aggregation of pyroxene, plagioclase and troilite relating to the later stage of crystallization. Ilmenite is an accessory mineral. Plagioclase and pyroxene show impact features.

Vouillé, France meteorite


In the famous hall of meteorites at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, a slice of Chervony Kut is displayed.

You can count the piece of Chervony Kut on display in the world on about two fingers of one hand.


Vouillé, France meteorite


The Ensisheim Show in 2008 had on display an 88g slice of Chervony Kut from the Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Russia. Basically, this the sign says Chervony Kut is almost nonexistent in private collections since most of the material is in Moscow. Note the specimen label peeking into the picture on the lower right.

This photo was kindly provided by Hanno Strufe in Germany. It was published in the July 2008 IMCA Insights.


Vouillé, France meteorite


And here is the specimen card from my specimen. Having a original historic specimen label from the Moscow Academy of Sciences is rare enough, but to have actual cloth tape specimen number (a well-known tradition for this collection) is even better.

Vouillé, France meteorite


The amazing crust of Chervony Kut is something to behold.

Whether looking at the inside, the outside, or the collection history, this Chervony Kut delivers.

Millbillillie has a distinct look that is quickly recognized by most collectors. However, Chervony Kut has a more refined, distinguished appearance. The features are crisp, the crust more textured, the contrasts are sharper. To me, Chervony Kut expresses the true nature of the translation of the Greek word labeling this classification. One look and you can see that Chervony Kut is the most "easily distinguished" of all the eucrites.

Until next month…

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