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Nogoya: Cosmic Coal? ” – it must be admitted that there is a large array of arguments in favor of the existence of extraterrestrial life.”

A June 1879 Witnessed Fall: Nogoya, Argentina

Nogoya: Cosmic Coal?

” – it must be admitted that there is a large array of arguments in favor of the existence of extraterrestrial life.”

Nogoya Meteorite

Black gold!

While beauty is in the eye of the educated, Nogoya’s ancestors may have seeded the earth with the chemicals needed to speed the evolution of life into something that could appreciate the beauty in a black lump of rock from space.

Many years ago, I fell in love with a picture of a meteorite. The stone was highlighted in the collection catalog of Robert Haag, and came from an exchange he did with the National Museum in Argentina. At the time, the stone was so exotic in its rarity, class, age, and size that I never imagined such a piece would ever be in my collection. Or in anyone’s collection for that matter.

Pictured below is the cover of the 10th anniversary catalog of the meteorite collection of Robert A. Haag. Published in 1992, it was a portal into another collecting universe that seemed surreal if not a fantasy land for the budding meteorite collector. One of the specimens Robert highlighted was his piece of Nogoya, Argentina.

Haag cataloghaag catalog picture



Nogoya Meteorite
As dark as Nogoya looks, it is actually filled with brightness. Millions of cosmic inclusions dot the cut face exposing to daylight what could have been the precursors of life on earth.

The Natural History Museum (London) online database lists 193 CM meteorites known. Refining the search to only witnessed falls, 16 emerge. Nogoya is the second witnessed CM fall after the Cold Bokkeveld, a CM2 that fell in 1838. The namesake of the CM stones is Mighei, a Ukrainian meteorite that fell a decade after Nogoya in 1889. One other CM fell in the 1800s and that was Nawapali, India.

Interestingly, of the 16 CM meteorites witnessed to fall, half of them fell in the two months of June and September, and and almost three quarters of the total known CM falls are accounted for if you add April to this calendar.


Nogoya Meteorite

Gazing into a polished face of Nogoya is like staring into space through a telescope. Everywhere you look there are interesting features. Little galaxies, nebulas, constellations, planets, suns and moons orbit the stone.


Moons? Yes. Notice the “strings” of tiny dots visible here, and above in the lower right of the larger image.

Nogoya Meteorite
An inverted image of Nogoya turns a dark carbonaceous chondrite into a potential Aubrite.

In an 1965 article titled Free Organic Radicals in the Mighei and Nogoya Meteorites, by Duchesne, et. al., the scientists “studied electronic paramagnetic resonance signals, linked to the free organic radicals.”

You can enjoy the details here by reading the article yourself, but what struck me most was the suggestion that the similarity of carbonaceous chondrites to coal “gives a supplementary proof for the assumption that an extra-terrestrial biogenic activity exists.”


Nogoya Meteorite

Crust from Heaven!

Every time I view the crust on Nogoya, it takes my breath away.

As fresh as the day it fell, the thick flow lines are a stunning reminder of the violent temperatures meteorites must endure in order to reach us.


Nogoya Meteorite
The specimen number from the Robert A. Haag meteorite collection is almost blindly bright given the extreme contrast between the matrix of Nogoya and the paint Bob used.


Nogoya Meteorite nogoya haag card
A specimen card from Robert A. Haag, who traded this out of the National Museum in Argentina-something that will probably never happen again.


Entering this specimen of Nogoya into my collection was an honor that I take seriously. Given that Nogoya appears from time to time for sale in small sizes for upwards of $700/g, sometimes I let my mind wander.. Not that the market could absorb 50-75 one-gram or multi-gram pieces of Nogoya at that price–nor would I ever let that happen, but it’s always fun to run the calculations. In this case the theoretical value of this specimen lands a little shy of $80,000. Rediculous, I know. But if you want to offer $50k for it, give me a call.

Until next time….

The Accretion Desk welcomes all comments and feedback.

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