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The Great Family Reunion Also Known As The Ensisheim Show

Photo by Laurent Jaworski

Yes, the Ensisheim-Meteorite Show has the feel of a family reunion. We all meet there in this friendly old Alsatian town once a year, we celebrate the new deserving members of the family, we learn about the new accomplishments of various members, and we chat until late in the night over Alsatian tart, Meteor beer and Rhine wine.

Friday around 6pm, after setting up all the displays upstairs in the Palais de la Régence, we all assembled on the square, near the church where the Ensisheim Meteorite had been kept in chains for so long, ready for the opening ceremony, a few speeches and the traditional celebratory glass of local wine.

Photo by Hanno Struffe

This year the deserving members were, from left to right around Zelimir Gabelica (with hat), the organizer of the show:

Photo by Hanno Struffe

Graham Ensor, UK; Dieter Heinlein, Germany; Andre Besson, Tahiti; Francois Sarti, Madagascar.
Congratulations to all.

But the star of the show appeared a bit later (his plane was late):

Photo by Hanno Struffe

Tony Irving, from the University of Washington, a famous meteoriticist and a very welcome visitor. Just in time for a glass of wine.

The show opened to the public at large the next morning. It was well-attended and there was a lot to look at as the tables were overloaded with meteorites from all corners of the planet:

Photo by Mauro Ianeselli

The Swiss team, Marc Jost, Andreas Koppel, and Peter Marmet, was celebrating and presenting specimens of the Twannberg meteorite that they finally found after years of searching. It is a rare IIG iron, one of only 6 known IIG, and soon to be the star of its own exhibit in Switzerland.

Photo courtesy of

Another feature of the Ensisheim-Meteorite Show is the very special exhibit that Zelimir Gabelica always plans for us, and this year it was particularly special. He convinced Alain Carion, the well-known French mineral and meteorite dealer, to show a portion of his own, private collection of meteorites.

Alain Carion has been a fixture in the world of meteorites for a great many years and along the way has collected some remarkable specimens worthy of a world-class museum. Additionally he has always been very careful and eager to collect a great deal of documentation telling the story of his specimens. About 30 specimens were on display in the museum on the ground floor of the Palais de la Régence, representing more than two centuries of French meteorite history, from Barbotan, fallen in 1790, to Plancy-l’Abbaye, found in 2003.

Photo © Franz Guichet

Barbotan, 143.60g, and Plancy-l’Abbaye, 93.50g (probably the main mass)

Photo by Hanno Struffe
Photos by Hanno Struffe

The most striking was probably the complete crusted individual of L’Aigle, 194.4g of it, proudly presented on Jean-Baptiste Biot historical Report as published by : “Beaudoin, Imprimeur de l’Institut National” and the Date of publication is right on the front page: Thermidor An XI. Translation: July/August of the year 1803 of the calendar of the French Revolution.

Photo © Franz Guichet

And then of course there was Chassigny, 0.60g.

Photo © Franz Guichet

And Salles, fallen on March 12 1798, with a manuscript describing the fall, 65g.

Photo by Hanno Struffe

And Orgueil, some fragments in a glass vial, 7.20g

Photo © Franz Guichet

and Vouillé, fallen in 1831, 20.8g, next to Bacqueville, found in 1999, 5g

Photo by Martin Goff.

And a Bouvante fragment with great crust, 211.2g. Too bad there was no room for the letter of the garde champétre who found it and wrote to Alain Carion describing his discovery.

Photo © Franz Guichet

And a slice of La Caille, 106.5g, the huge iron meteorite that had been used as a bench by the local people until it was identified as a meteorite and promptly moved to the Paris Museum.

Photo by Martin Goff

Thank you, Zelimir, and the city of Ensisheim for a perfectly enjoyable show. I am already looking forward to Ensisheim 2017. (I have already reserved my table for the show and my room at the Domaine du Moulin!)

Anne M. Black

Photo by Mauro Ianeselli
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