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IMCA Insights – July 2010

IMCA Insights – July 2010
Ensisheim Meteorite Show 2010
by Norbert Classen

Welcome to the July issue of IMCA Insights and to our second meteorite show report for this year, Ensisheim 2010. The show was opening its gates for the 11th time from June 18 to 20, 2010, and like in the last years it attracted a lot of international visitors, collectors, dealers, and scientists from all over the world.

Ensisheim Regency Palace
View of the Ensisheim Regency Palace Photo courtesy Peter Marmet

If you have never been to Ensisheim: it is the place of one of the oldest witnessed meteorite falls, and it is an absolute must for every guest to pay at least a short visit to the remaining mass of the Thunderstone of Ensisheim which fell in 1492, and which serves as the centerpiece of the annual show which is organized by the St. Georges Confraternity of the Ensisheim Meteorite Guardians (Confrérie des Gardiens de la Météorite d’Ensisheim) inside of the historic Regency Palace.

The new Guardians of the Ensisheim Meteorite
Five new Guardians of the Ensisheim Meteorite, among them IMCA Members Olaf Gabel and Kazimierz Mazurek Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

The traditional opening ceremonies of the Ensisheim show also include a special honor for a handful of special guests who have been selected to become honorary members of the Brotherhood of Guardians. Among them there were two IMCA members this year, “chief-impactor” Olaf Gabel from Germany and seasoned meteorite collector Kazimierz Mazurek from Poland. In the evening at the famous Friday night dinner party the organizer of the Ensisheim show, Zelimir Gabelica, had the pleasure to welcome yet another new member to the Brotherhood – the renowned meteoriticist John Wasson who arrived at the show in the evening.

Enthroning of John Wasson
Zelimir Gabelica (right) welcoming John Wasson to the Brotherhood Photo courtesy Mirko Graul

I arrived at the show on Saturday at about 10 a.m., and I was welcomed by a lot of friends such as Marc Jost and Peter Marmet from Switzerland. It took me some time to get into the Regency Palace as there were too many people to welcome, and to talk with. When I finally entered the main hall where all the dealers had their tables I was delighted to see that more than half of them were IMCA members, such as Erich Haiderer, Sergey Vasiliev, Luc Labenne, Philippe Thomas, Laurent Jaworski, Marcin Cimala, Hans Koser, Moritz Karl, Mirko Graul, Martin Altmann & Stefan Ralew of Chladni’s Heirs, Ali and Mohammed Hmani, Marc Jost, Peter Marmet, Dirk Hohmann, Bernd Ruschinzik, Hanno Strufe, Siegfried Haberer, Giorgio Tomelleri, and – last but not least – our IMCA Vice-President Anne Black from the United States. Please forgive me if I forgot to mention the one or the other.

View of the Main Hall
View of the Main Hall, and of various dealer’s tables Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

On all these tables there were more goodies than one can possibly mention – samples of new and historic falls as well as various desert finds, enough to fill a book, and enough to make any museum exhibit pale in comparison. However, there were less new finds and falls this year, but there were a few new things worth mentioning such as a new oriented iron from Northwest Africa which could be seen at Ali Hmani’s table.

Ali Hmani presenting his new iron meteorite
IMCA Member Ali Hmani and his new oriented NWA iron meteorite Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

Closeup of the new oriented NWA iron
Closeup view of Ali Hmani’s new oriented NWA iron meteorite Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

The arguably most fascinating new iron find which received a lot of attention at this year’s show could be seen at Dima Sadilenko’s and Sergey Afanasiev’s table. Our Russian friends were selling a lot of decent sized shrapnels of the new anomalous ataxite that has been recovered from the Jilf al Kabir plateau in Egypt in 2009 – a rare iron associated with some recently discovered craters making this find even more spectacular.

The new ataxite from Jilf al Kabir, Egypt
A sample of the new crater forming iron from Jilf a Kabir, Egypt Photo courtesy Marcin Cimala

Another highlight of the show were Siegfried Haberer’s fantastic samples of Almahata Sitta, the famous ureilite fall from Sudan – the only fall that has been exactly predicted and which resulted from the collision of Asteroid 2008 TC3 with our planet Earth. Almahata Sitta is not only special because it is the first predicted meteorite fall, and it’s not only extraordinary because it represents an anomalous member of a rare class of achondrites. In fact, its nature seems to be much more complicated than that: it seems to represent a fall comprised of several meteorite types, including different ureilitic lithologies, E chondrites, ordinary chondrites, plus a so-far unknown type of unequilibrated chondrite. And at Siegfried’s table everyone could have a close look at these various lithologies, and at some marvellous complete stones from this fall.

Some marvellous Almahata Sitta individuals
Fantastic Almahata Sitta individuals at Siegfried Haberer’s table Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

Siegfried Haberer, Karin Schneider, and Norbert Classen
Siegfried Haberer, Karin Schneider, and the author Norbert Classen Photo courtesy Siegfried Haberer

Of course, I was also lucky to find a few new samples for my own collection of planetary meteorites. Luc Labenne had a new lunar from Oman, Dhofar 1528, of which I purchased a fantastic 2.042g part slice, and Philippe Thomas had another new lunar from Western Sahara, NWA 6221, of which I acquired a neat 0.579g thin slice – just click the hyperlinks to view photos of both samples.

Philippe & Lea Thomas with their new lunar
Philippe and Lea Thomas with their brand-new lunar NWA 6221 Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

Of course, Ensisheim is not just about sales and trades of meteorites but also for socializing with old and new friends from all over the world. There were visitors from the UK such as Graham Ensor and Peter Davidson, and also a lot of people from the US such as Anne Black, Mike Farmer, Greg Hupe, and Darryl Pitt. Darryl and I had been dealing, wheeling and mailing with each other since years via the internet, and we became real penpals in time. So it was great to finally meet him and to chat with him in person.

Greg Hupe and Darryl Pitt enjoying a Meteorite beer
Greg Hupe and Darryl Pitt enjoying an original “Meteorite” beer Photo courtesy Hanno Strufe

As always, it’s hard to cover all aspects of a show such as Ensisheim, and so please forgive me if I forgot to mention some major or minor aspects in my rather personal show report. Anyway, I’m looking forward to see you all in Ensisheim, next year, and if you are considering to visit Ensisheim, you should also consider to stay a few days longer, and to attend the nearby Mineral Show at Ste. Marie aux Mines which is always opening its gates the week after the Ensisheim show. It’s one of the largest rock and gem shows in Europe which is also attended by many meteorite people, and so it is really worth a visit.

Party time in Ensisheim
When the night falls: party time in Ensisheim Photo courtesy Peter Marmet

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