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Ochansk: If it’s abundant, it better be good

An August 1887 Witnessed Fall: Ochansk, Russia


If it’s abundant,

it better be good.

Ochansk Meteorite

With 500kg of the brecciated H4 named Ochansk arriving on earth, a collector desiring a piece should focus on collectability and a historical paper trail.

In this particular case, the specimen has traveled through at least four documented collections.

At about one o’clock in the afternoon on August 30, 1887, 500kg of H4 chondrite fell from the sky following a glowing meteor and many loud sounds. Landing near the village of Tabory, near Okhansk, the now-named meteorite has made its way into most collections worldwide.

The largest specimen that fell was recorded to be 115kg, and the current main mass is listed as 100kg and living in the University of Kazan in Tatarstan, Russia.

Ochansk Meteorite
Ochansk is a cement meteorite. In other words, it would be perfectly camouflaged if it fell into a pile of broken concrete.

Ochansk Meteorite

The specimen label of 267A.1 is from a famous collector and mineral dealer who used the number/letter/decimal designation as a direct reference to the fourth edition of the Catalogue of Meteorites.The label uses a designation from the 1985 version of the Catalogue (aka: the Blue Book). In this case, the meteorite that contains this labile is found on page 267, and is the first meteorite on the first column of the page.

Ochansk Meteorite card
Specimens with cards from the Humboldt University in Berlin are exceedingly rare these days. In some cases, the cards may be worth more than the actual specimen, but of course of little value without the specimen.

Collecting historical witnessed falls often requires the virtues of patience and perseverance. However, those virtues don’t always apply to the simple acquiring of the locality, but sometimes also to the necessity of an exceptional specimen to represent a well-distributed meteorite.


Until next time….


The Accretion Desk welcomes all comments and feedback.

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