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Smithland meteorite, Livingston Co., Kentucky, USA

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Iron, IVA [Of?] - heat altered
Found 1839, 5 kg

A large, somewhat weathered meteoritic mass was found around 1839, treated as an ore body, and then sectioned and forged by a blacksmith. However, by 1846 its meteoritic nature was recognized and approximately 5 kg of the heat altered meteorite was preserved. Indeed, in its present state the meteorite is mostly altered kamacite accompanied by minor taenite. Prominent troilite nodules, partially remobilized by the artificial heating are also present. Besides troilite, there are tiny daubréelite inclusions and chromite crystals. However, schreibersite — normally expected in IVA irons — is not observed as it was probably redissolved by the smelting process. It appears that when the Smithland mass fell it would most likely have been a fine octahedrite with clearer - if small - phase boundaries. However, this classification is not quite certain as pre-terrestrial shock-melting of iron meteoroids often creates textural and mineralogical changes similar to those induced by artificial heating.

Smithland was the first meteorite to be recovered in Kentucky. The first seven Kentucky meteorites were all irons. In the process of clearing the land for homes and farms during the mid-19th Century, odd Fe-rich masses were certain to draw attention.

Mineral List

8 entries listed. 4 valid minerals.

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Buchwald, V. F. (1975) Handbook of Iron Meteorites. University of California Press. 1418 pages.

Grady, M. M. (2000) Catalogue of Meteorites (5/e). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, London, New York, Oakleigh, Madrid. 689 pages.

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