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Khairpur meteorite, Punjab, Pakistan

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 29° 32' North , 72° 18' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 29.53333,72.30000
Non-native locality type:Meteorite
Meteorite Class:EL6 chondrite meteorite
Meteoritical Society Class: EL6
Metbull:View entry in Meteoritical Bulletin Database
Köppen climate type:BWh : Hot deserts climate

Enstatite Chondrite [EL6; S2]
Early Enstatite Chondrite fall, 13.6 kg

As dawn was breaking on 23 September 1873, a swarm of bolides were seen, detonations were almost immediately heard, and a shower of meteorites fell over a 5 km x 25 km region of the Punjab forming a number of small craters. A few stones which fell near the village of Khairpur were recovered. The Khairpur meteorite was soon recognized by G. T. Prior (1918) and others as an unusual meteorite with affinities to other meteorite oddballs such as the Daniel’s Kuil (1868) and Hvittis (1901) falls. Today we classify all three meteorites as Enstatite Chondrites, petrologic type EL6. The class name is derived from their most prominent mineral, Enstatite, an iron-poor silicate which is relatively uncommon in earth rocks. In mineralogical circles, interest has been also been piqued by the discovery of a suite of minerals unknown in terrestrial rocks. The Oldhamite in Khairpur described by Prior was an early instance of an ongoing pursuit.

Enstatite Chondrites are marked by sub-solar Mg/Si ratios, near terrestrial Oxygen-isotope ratios, abundant ‘free’ Fe-Ni metal (~10 vol%), and highly reduced mineral assemblages. Both low-iron (EL) and high-iron (EH) chemical groups have abundant Fe-Ni metal, but the (EL) group has less overall Fe content. The EL group is also distinguished by moderately large chondrules and the invariable presence of ferroan alabandite.

Most EL chondrites, including Khairpur, are designated as petrologic type EL6. Metamorphic heating has homogenized most minerals, coarsened feldspar, converted low-Ca pyroxene to orthopyroxene, and obliterated many chondrule outlines. No melting of chondrules is observed.

As the third observed Enstatite Chondrite fall and as the third most massive EL fall, Khairpur has offered both material for study and food for thought for well over a century.

Mineral List

14 valid minerals.

Meteorite/Rock Types Recorded

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Prior, G. T. (1918). The Meteorite stones of Lauton, Warbreccan, Cronstad, Daniel’s Kuil, Khairpur, and Soko-Banja, and Angela. Mineralogical Magazine 18 (83): 1-25.
Mason, B. H. (1966). The Enstatite Chondrites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 30, 23-30.
Keil, K. (1968). Mineralogical and Chemical Relationships among the Enstatite Chondrites. Journal of Geophysical Research 73 (22): 6945-6976. (Nov 1968)
Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites. Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages.
Grady, M. M. (2000). Catalogue of Meteorites (5/e). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, New York, Oakleigh, Madrid, Cape Town. 690 pages.
Torigoye, N. & Shima, M. (1993). Evidence for a late thermal event of unequilibrated enstatite chondrites - A Rb-Sr study of Qingzhen and Yamato 6901 (EH3) and Khairpur (EL6). Meteoritics 28 (4): 515-527. (Sept 1993)

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