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Ensisheim meteorite, Guebwiller, Thann-Guebwiller, Haut-Rhin, Grand Est, Francei
Regional Level Types
Ensisheim meteoriteMeteorite Fall Location
GuebwillerCommune
Thann-GuebwillerArrondissement
Haut-RhinDepartment
Grand EstRegion
FranceCountry

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Key
Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):
47° 52' North , 7° 21' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal):
Meteorite Class:
Meteoritical Society Class:
Köppen climate type:
Nearest Settlements:
PlacePopulationDistance
Ensisheim6,940 (2018)0.1km
Réguisheim1,770 (2018)3.2km
Ungersheim1,705 (2016)3.4km
Ruelisheim2,786 (2018)4.8km
Pulversheim2,372 (2016)4.9km
Other/historical names associated with this locality:
Alsace


Ordinary chondrite, brecciated (LL6, br; S3; W0)
Fell, 16 November 1492 (Gregorian Calendar); 127 kg

Just before a Wednesday noon, a northeasterly traveling fireball was seen, and detonations were heard for a 150 km distance over the upper Rhineland. Some accompanying hissing sounds were heard along later portions of its track and soon a large stone fell into a field with a loud thud and partially buried itself into a self-created ~1 m deep hole. The fall was seen by a single boy, but the sounds had attracted attention and the mass was soon pulled out of the ground. While a few pieces were chipped away after the stone had been lifted out of the hole, the chief magistrate soon arrived and forbade any further alteration of this strange and heavy marvel from the sky. The stone was taken to the nearby Ensisheim parish church and displayed. Nearly 3 weeks later, Emperor Maximilian had the meteorite removed to his castle. However, he soon decided that the stone was an omen from God, removed two additional pieces, and returned the stone to the church where it was mounted and remained for just over 300 years. A number of official and unofficial reports ['protocols'], drawings, and broadsides were inscribed and printed in the immediate aftermath of the fall, but over the past 5 centuries, most of these have been lost and/or imperfectly copied. Regimes have also come and gone, the principal language boundaries (German and French) have alternated, scientific prejudices have changed as well and even the day of the fall is now reckoned as the 16th of November instead of the 7th of November on the old Julian Calendar. During the French Revolution, the meteorite was removed to a new national museum in Colmar. Additional material was removed and analyzed, including an 11 kg piece which was analyzed by Edward C. Howard and established, for most scientists, its meteoritic nature. After a decade the meteorite was returned to the church. In 1854, the church collapsed — but a 56 kg specimen of the meteorite is now on display at the Ensisheim town museum.

The meteorite as a scientific specimen is classified as an 'ordinary chondrite' — but is actually a somewhat unusual ordinary chondrite. Historically, it is the oldest 'ordinary chondrite' fall recorded in European history. The older and much smaller Nogata, Japan L6 chondrite fall of 19 May 861 is the only older fully classified ordinary chondrite. Ensisheim is also the second most massive recorded LL6 fall. The LL ordinary chondrites represent somewhat less than 10% of all witnessed falls. Of these 42 are currently classified as exactly as LL6 chondrites — and Ensisheim is the second most massive of this relatively small group. Only the Saint-Séverin fall of 1966 fall is more massive (271 kg). One of the peculiarities of the LL chondrites is that they sometimes have more troilite than free (unoxidized) Fe-Ni metal, but this metal is more Ni-rich than the metal phases in the H and L Chondrites. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see this even in Howard's early analysis which, among other things, noticed the higher Fe:S ratios of meteoritic sulfides relative to terrestrial pyrites.

Texturally and mineralogically speaking, Ensisheim appears to be well within the norms for the LL geochemical group as presently defined. It is a largely coarse-grained breccia with poorly-defined chondrules (and finer-grained matrix) consisting primarily of olivine (Fa28), pyroxene, and very minor plagioclase. The troilite, Fe-Ni metal, and chromite are found mostly as small aggregates between silicates. A number of minor opaques have also been reported (Cf. esp. Ramdohr, 1973).

The 56 kg specimen at the Ensisheim Rathaus and the 9 kg stored at the Museum of National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris hold the bulk of the currently preserved meteorite. The historical review by Marvin (1992) provides further details of Ensisheim's distribution as well as changing views of 'stones from the heavens' during the past 5 centuries.

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Mineral List


9 valid minerals.

Meteorite/Rock Types Recorded

Note: this is a very new system on mindat.org and data is currently VERY limited. Please bear with us while we work towards adding this information!

Select Rock List Type

Alphabetical List Tree Diagram

Detailed Mineral List:

'Albite-Anorthite Series'
Reference: Ramdohr, P. (1967)  Chromite and chromite chondrules in meteorites—I: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 31(10): 1961-1967 [w. fig.]. (Oct 1967).; Grady, M.M., Pratesi, G. & Moggi-Cecchi, V. (2015) Atlas of Meteorites. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom. 373 pages.ronomical Society A 368 (1922): 3059-3065. (June 2010).
Chromite
Formula: Fe2+Cr3+2O4
Reference: Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites.Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages. ; Ramdohr, P. (1967)  Chromite and chromite chondrules in meteorites—I: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 31(10): 1961-1967 [w. fig.]. (Oct 1967).; Grady, M.M., Pratesi, G. & Moggi-Cecchi, V. (2015) Atlas of Meteorites. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom. 373 pages.ronomical Society A 368 (1922): 3059-3065. (June 2010).
Diopside
Formula: CaMgSi2O6
Reference: van Schmus, W.R. & Koffman, D.M. (1967) Equilibration Temperatures of Iron and Magnesium in Chondritic Meteorites: Science, New Series 155 (3765): 1009-1011. (Feb 1967).
'Fayalite-Forsterite Series'
Description: Olivine (Fa28.0±0.7)[Rubin,1990].
Reference: Buchner, O. (1863) Die Meteorite in Sammlungen, ihre Geschichte, mineralogische und chemische Beschaffenheit. Leipzig: Verlag W.Engelmann. 202 pp.; Rubin, A. (1990) Olivine & Kamacite in Ordinary Chondrites: Intergroup and Intragroup relationships. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 54: 1217-1230. ; Grady, M.M., Pratesi, G. & Moggi-Cecchi, V. (2015) Atlas of Meteorites. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom. 373 pages.ronomical Society A 368 (1922): 3059-3065. (June 2010). ; van Schmus, W.R. & Koffman, D.M. (1967) Equilibration Temperatures of Iron and Magnesium in Chondritic Meteorites: Science, New Series 155 (3765): 1009-1011. (Feb 1967).
Ilmenite
Formula: Fe2+TiO3
Reference: Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites.Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages.
Iron
Formula: Fe
Reference: Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites.Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages. ; Rubin, A. (1990) Olivine & Kamacite in Ordinary Chondrites: Intergroup and Intragroup relationships. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 54: 1217-1230.
Iron var: Kamacite
Formula: (Fe,Ni)
Reference: Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites.Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages. ; Rubin, A. (1990) Olivine & Kamacite in Ordinary Chondrites: Intergroup and Intragroup relationships. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 54: 1217-1230.
Isocubanite
Formula: CuFe2S3
Reference: Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites.Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages.
Merrillite
Formula: Ca9NaMg(PO4)7
Description: Reading "Merrillite" (preferred) for "Whitlockite" (the terrestrial analogue).
Reference: Fuchs, L.H. (1969) The Phosphate Mineralogy of Meteorites: IN: Meteoritic Research: Millman, P.M.-Ed.: pp. 683-695.D. Reidel Publishing Company: Dordrecht-Holland.
'Orthopyroxene Subgroup'
Reference: Grady, M.M., Pratesi, G. & Moggi-Cecchi, V. (2015) Atlas of Meteorites. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom. 373 pages.ronomical Society A 368 (1922): 3059-3065. (June 2010). ; van Schmus, W.R. & Koffman, D.M. (1967) Equilibration Temperatures of Iron and Magnesium in Chondritic Meteorites: Science, New Series 155 (3765): 1009-1011. (Feb 1967).
Taenite
Formula: (Fe,Ni)
Reference: Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites.Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages.
Tetrataenite
Formula: FeNi
Reference: Clarke Jr, R.S. & Scott, E.R.D. (1980) - Tetrataenite—Ordered Fe,Ni, a new mineral in meteorites: American Mineralogist 65 (7 & 8): 624-630. (Jul/Aug 1980).
Troilite
Formula: FeS
Reference: Ramdohr, P. (1973). The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites.Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages. ; Grady, M.M., Pratesi, G. & Moggi-Cecchi, V. (2015) Atlas of Meteorites. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom. 373 pages.ronomical Society A 368 (1922): 3059-3065. (June 2010).

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 1 - Elements
Iron1.AE.05Fe
var: Kamacite1.AE.05(Fe,Ni)
Taenite1.AE.10(Fe,Ni)
Tetrataenite1.AE.10FeNi
Group 2 - Sulphides and Sulfosalts
Isocubanite2.CB.55bCuFe2S3
Troilite2.CC.10FeS
Group 4 - Oxides and Hydroxides
Chromite4.BB.05Fe2+Cr3+2O4
Ilmenite4.CB.05Fe2+TiO3
Group 8 - Phosphates, Arsenates and Vanadates
Merrillite8.AC.45Ca9NaMg(PO4)7
Group 9 - Silicates
Diopside9.DA.15CaMgSi2O6
Unclassified Minerals, Rocks, etc.
'Albite-Anorthite Series'-
'Fayalite-Forsterite Series'-
'Orthopyroxene Subgroup'-

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 1 - NATIVE ELEMENTS AND ALLOYS
Metals, other than the Platinum Group
Iron
var: Kamacite
1.1.11.1(Fe,Ni)
Taenite1.1.11.2(Fe,Ni)
Tetrataenite1.1.11.3FeNi
Group 2 - SULFIDES
AmXp, with m:p = 1:1
Troilite2.8.9.1FeS
AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 1:1
Isocubanite2.9.13.3CuFe2S3
Group 4 - SIMPLE OXIDES
A2X3
Ilmenite4.3.5.1Fe2+TiO3
Group 7 - MULTIPLE OXIDES
AB2X4
Chromite7.2.3.3Fe2+Cr3+2O4
Group 38 - ANHYDROUS NORMAL PHOSPHATES, ARSENATES, AND VANADATES
(AB)3(XO4)2
Merrillite38.3.4.4Ca9NaMg(PO4)7
Group 65 - INOSILICATES Single-Width,Unbranched Chains,(W=1)
Single-Width Unbranched Chains, W=1 with chains P=2
Diopside65.1.3a.1CaMgSi2O6
Unclassified Minerals, Mixtures, etc.
'Albite-Anorthite Series'-
'Fayalite-Forsterite Series'-
Iron-Fe
'Orthopyroxene Subgroup'-

List of minerals for each chemical element

OOxygen
O ChromiteFe2+Cr23+O4
O IlmeniteFe2+TiO3
O MerrilliteCa9NaMg(PO4)7
O DiopsideCaMgSi2O6
NaSodium
Na MerrilliteCa9NaMg(PO4)7
MgMagnesium
Mg MerrilliteCa9NaMg(PO4)7
Mg DiopsideCaMgSi2O6
SiSilicon
Si DiopsideCaMgSi2O6
PPhosphorus
P MerrilliteCa9NaMg(PO4)7
SSulfur
S TroiliteFeS
S IsocubaniteCuFe2S3
CaCalcium
Ca MerrilliteCa9NaMg(PO4)7
Ca DiopsideCaMgSi2O6
TiTitanium
Ti IlmeniteFe2+TiO3
CrChromium
Cr ChromiteFe2+Cr23+O4
FeIron
Fe ChromiteFe2+Cr23+O4
Fe TroiliteFeS
Fe IlmeniteFe2+TiO3
Fe IsocubaniteCuFe2S3
Fe Iron (var: Kamacite)(Fe,Ni)
Fe Taenite(Fe,Ni)
Fe TetrataeniteFeNi
Fe IronFe
NiNickel
Ni Iron (var: Kamacite)(Fe,Ni)
Ni Taenite(Fe,Ni)
Ni TetrataeniteFeNi
CuCopper
Cu IsocubaniteCuFe2S3

References

Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
Buchner, O. (1863) Die Meteorite in Sammlungen, ihre Geschichte, mineralogische und chemische Beschaffenheit. Leipzig: Verlag W. Engelmann. 202 pages.
Mason, B. (1963) Olivine in ordinary chondrites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 27(9), 1011-1023 (Sept 1963).
van Schmus, W.R., Koffman, D.M. (1967) Equilibration Temperatures of Iron and Magnesium in Chondritic Meteorites. Science, New Series, 155 (3765), 1009-1011 (Feb 1967).
Ramdohr, P. (1967) Chromite and chromite chondrules in meteorites—I. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 31(10), 1961-1967 [w. fig.] (Oct 1967).
Fuchs, L.H. (1969) The Phosphate Mineralogy of Meteorites. In Millman, P.M. (Ed.) Meteoritic Research, 683-695. D. Reidel Publishing Company: Dordrecht-Holland.
Ramdohr, P. (1973) The Opaque Minerals in Stony Meteorites. Elsevier Publishing Company: Amsterdam; London: New York. 245 pages.
Clarke Jr, R.S., Scott, E.R.D. (1980) Tetrataenite—Ordered Fe,Ni, a new mineral in meteorites. American Mineralogist, 65 (7-8), 624-630 (Jul/Aug 1980).
Rubin, A. (1990) Olivine & Kamacite in Ordinary Chondrites: Intergroup and Intragroup relationships. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 54, 1217-1230.
Marvin, U. (1992) The meteorite of Ensisheim: 1492-1992. Meteoritics, 27(1), 28-72 (March 1992).
Grady, M.M (2000) Catalogue of Meteorites (5/e). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge; New York; Oakleigh; Madrid; Cape Town. 689 pages.
McBeath, A. (2011) Meteor Beliefs Project: The Ensisheim thunderstone. WGN, Journal of the International Meteor Organization, 39(4), 110-120.
Grady, M.M., Pratesi, G., Moggi-Cecchi, V. (2015) Atlas of Meteorites. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, United Kingdom. 373 pages.

Other Databases

Wikipedia:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ensisheim_meteorite
Wikidata ID:Q1344365

External Links


Other Regions, Features and Areas containg this locality

Eurasian PlateTectonic Plate
EuropeContinent

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