Meteorites in ancient times
by david bryant
The first part of this article considered man's earliest encounters with meteorites and how rocks 'from the heavens' were generally treated reverentially by their finders. However, meteorites and impact glasses were in the past, also used for making tools, weapon and jewellery...
what made all those holes? Part 2
By David Bryant
In 1908 a massive explosion laid waste to thirty square miles of Siberian pine forest near the Tungus River. Thousands of trees were felled around an obvious epicentre and many animals (and quite probably local tribesmen) were incinerated or killed by the blast. Strange night-glows in the sky persisted for several days, while witnesses reported a blinding light and shattering concussion. However, despite numerous expeditions to the region, no satisfactory explanation has been forthcoming.
A 2014 TV documentary followed the adventures of a group of international scientists as they investigated the Tunguska impact site in Siberia: each one had a pet theory:
By David Bryant
A recent TV documentary (of the somewhat over-dramatic variety!) sought to explain several recent – and very damaging - falls of ice. Arriving at high speed from cloudless skies, these have battered roofs, cars and aircraft. The conclusion of the program was that these were examples of ‘mega-hailstones’, poorly-understood phenomena, more usually called megacryometeors by the Scientific community.
The Chelyabinsk Fireball: asteroid or comet?
Just after dawn on the morning of February 15th, 2013, inhabitants of the Russian city of Chelyabinsk were making their way to work when an enormous fireball streaked across the sky. Those who stopped to marvel at the cosmic visitor felt a pulse of heat as it suddenly exploded, before the associated shock wave shattered glass, threw people to the ground and set off alarms all over the city. Around 1,500 people were treated for cuts and bruises in local hospitals, while several more seriously injured were flown to Moscow by helicopter.
by David Bryant
Until July, 1969 the idea that genuine fragments of rock from the Moon would one day be available for scientific research would have seemed highly unlikely: the possibility that such material could be added at relatively low cost to an amateur collection would not have even been considered. Fifty years later, anyone can purchase a genuine (if tiny!) piece of lunar rock for as little as £20: several hundred kilos of such material is available online and from dealers (Caveat emptor! Not all ‘moon rocks’ on internet auction sites are genuine:
planetary craters what made all those holes pt1
By David Bryant
It is a fact that every solid body within the Solar System is pock-marked by high-speed impact craters: not just the four rocky planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars and their moons, but also the satellites of the four gas giants Jupiter, Saturn Uranus & Neptune.
In addition, all the large asteroids that have been imaged from Earth or from space probes show similar dramatic evidence of past multiple impacts.
Mysterious carbonados - diamonds from Space
by space rocks uk
Every year, many tonnes of dark grey to black Carbonado from Precambrian strata in Brazil and the Central African Republic are mined for industrial use. This opaque, slightly porous substance is as hard as crystallized diamond (Moh 10) but not as brittle, and is therefore ideal for cutting-tools and drill bits. Its value has traditionally been considerably less than gem-quality diamond, but recent, concerted advertising has seen a steady rise in the price of both cut and raw stones.
By David Bryant
Every year in mid-August astronomers all over the world eagerly anticipate the Perseid Meteor Shower: some years the sky can be full of ‘shooting stars’, on others hardly a handful are seen.
This year was pretty good: I personally observed over sixty meteors in around two hours and even managed to photograph one as it passed close to the familiar ‘W’ shaped constellation, Cassiopeia:
In the first part of this article, I reviewed the numerous glassy impactites that can be transformed into attractive and fascinating items of jewellery. As was mentioned, the majority of these are predominantly terrestrial in origin, although some (such as Desert Glass) may contain traces of the impactor.
In this, the concluding part, I shall consider the jewellery use of actual material from space: meteorites themselves.
Meteorite and impactite jewellery
It is undeniable that most meteorites in their raw state are not the most attractive of objects!
However, when cut and polished or even faceted, some types can be made into attractive and fascinating items of jewellery. For a variety of reasons,