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Kurinelli Meteorites, Kurundi Goldfield, Wauchope, Barkly Region, Northern Territory, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 20° 36' 48'' South , 135° 2' 51'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -20.6135781931, 135.047550227


The Kurinelli area has been the haunt of many a gold prospector over time including recently, with bulldozing, then metal detected, with oral evidence indicating a number of nuggets found. However, the area also contains another item of interest, with many small meteorite fragments located with metal detectors. The bad news (at least for people searching for meteorites) is the law banns the keeping and/or export of meteorites found in the Northern Territory after 1988, and they must be handed into the Northern Territory Museum department.

A number of prospectors were finding 'hot rocks' in the area, which they would smash open hoping for gold inside. Initially there was much frustration, until one prospector, Nick Byrne recognised nickel in 1996. Believing the rocks represented a major bedrock nickel deposit, he approached Peter Simpson (and other companies) from Giants Reef Mining. A pegging rush ensued, however further investigations by geologists determined the material to be meteorites.

Various local prospectors, including Ray Hall, Colin Wessel, John McDonald, and Tony Campbell, donated material to the Northern Territory Museum for study.

All the meteorites have been found in soil rather than the surface to a depth of one metre. No impact structure has been found, and it is thought the meteorites are 'ancient' in age. While most material has been located in the Kurinelli area, Peter Saint, owner of the Kurundi pastoral station has stated, similar meteorites have been found as far away as Annitowa, 200 kilometres further afield. Most of the material is small, with the largest known being half a brick in size.

The meteorite surface is brown to reddish-brown, internally lustrous dark grey to grey-black, veined with brown and reddish-brown.

The meteorites are an almost completely oxidised octahedrite. Species include goethite which may have been derived from troilite, although no relict troilite was found. Well crystalline magnetite. Common maghemite, interbedded with other species, and bluish colour in polished sections. Native iron being unusual for a meteorite, as small grains and grain patches. Very minor quartz having intruded from weathering. Ragged remnants of a Fe-Ni alloy. Microscopically, kaolinite, montmorillonite and titanomagnetite is mentioned.

Mindat map shows the Kurinelli water tank/cattle yards, although material has been found in a wide area surrounding this. See also 'Kurinelli Gold Mines (Kurinelli Alluvial Gold Area)' Mindat locality.

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10 valid minerals.

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References

Megirian, D. (1998), Report on the 'Kurinelli Meteorite'. Northern Territory. With Reference to the Meteorites Act 1988, Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, MAGNT Research Report No. 2, September 1998

Dunster, J.N., Haines, P.W., Munsen, T.J. (2014), Meteorites and Impact Structures in the Northern Territory Geological Survey, Northern Territory Geological Survey, Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy, Record 2014/007, 2014

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