Astronomy Science X-Files

Fukang Meteorite: Where Did The Mysterious Space Rock Come From?

Fukang Meteorite: Where Did The Mysterious Space Rock Come From?

Fukang Meteorite is a meteorite that was discovered in China, and it was surely nothing that was seen before. When it hit the Earth, there was a little sign of beauty inside it. When it was cut open, it amazed all the people around and took their breath away. This meteorite belongs to a class of stony-iron meteorite known as Pallasite. Its fragments of olivine crystals embedded in an iron-nickel matrix, indicated towards the Pallasite family.

Discovery Of Fukang Meteorite

Fukang Meteorite: Where Did The Mysterious Space Rock Come From?

In the northwestern part of China, near the town of Fukang in Xinjiang, this meteorite was discovered. It was apparently discovered by a hiker in 2000, who many a times used to stop at this interesting rock for his lunch. His curiosity for this rock lead him to break some parts off it and send it to the United States for further assessments. There, it was confirmed that the pieces were from a meteorite.

Fukang Meteorite: Where Did The Mysterious Space Rock Come From?

In February 2005, this specimen made an appearance at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, where it was seen by the Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry at the University of Arizona, Dr. D. S. Lauretta, post which, the whole rock was studied by the University of Arizona. There, it was found to be of a type of Pallasite – a matrix of meteoric iron, in which silicates, mostly olivine (which is a type of yellow to yellowish-green crystal), are embedded. The university of Arizona believes that the specimen outshines all other known examples of the pallasite class, which makes up just one per cent of all meteorites.

How Does The Fukang Meteorite Look?

Fukang Meteorite: Where Did The Mysterious Space Rock Come From?

The rare meteorite, which was discovered in 2000, in the Gobi Desert in China’s Xinjiang Province, weighed about the same as a hatchback. It was so valuable that even the tiny chunks of it were sold in the region of £20-30 per gram.

Fukang Meteorite: Where Did The Mysterious Space Rock Come From?Sunlight shining across the meteorite and making it glow/Image Source (Image Source)

Apart from the rarity, the spectacular beauty of this meteorite is something to talk about. Apparently when the light shines through the slices of this meteorite, it passes through the olivine crystals, giving the meteorite an unbelievable glow. Due to this beauty of the meteorite, it has been in the wish list of many collectors. An anonymous collector or a group of collectors have the largest chunk of this meteorite weighing around 419.5 kg (924.8 lbs).

Fukang Meteorite: Where Did The Mysterious Space Rock Come From?Image Source (Image Source)

There was an attempt made to sell this large chunk of meteorite in Bonham’s in New York, in 2008,  for about 2 million USD, but seemingly no bidders turned up. Many other collectors around the world possess small chunks of this beautiful rock, while the University of Arizona’s Southwest Meteorite Laboratory, has a total of 31 kg (68 lbs).

Possible Origins Of The Fukang Meteorite

Speculations are that the Fukang Meteorite originated from a molten asteroid and its surrounding olivine mantle. It is claimed to have been formed 4.5 billion years ago, at the birth of the solar system, when the olivine fragments from its mantle mixed with the molten metal from its core, upon impact on earth.

It is believed that Pallasites do not survive the entry to Earth, and thus, this discovery is regarded as one of the biggest, in the 21st century. However, the fact about the origin of Fukang Meteorite is not well established yet.

Fukang Meteorite: Where Did The Mysterious Space Rock Come From?
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