Notice of Lion River, South Africa, Meteoritic Iron. By Charles Upharm Shepard, MD. And of Prof Clark’s Thesis on Metallic Meteorites. Extracted From The American Journal of Science And Arts, Vol. XV. Second Series. New Haven 1853.
Shepard describes the circumstances of the discovery of a 178 lbs mass of meteoritic iron in a clay plain near Lion River and its transport by Mr. John Gibbs via oxe carts to Cape Town as well as its subsequent shipping to London, from where it was forwarded to Shepard via New York. When the iron arrived at Amherst College Shepard performed several experiments, determined the Ni content and etched two cut surfaces. Although the strewn field which would later be known as the Gibeon strewn field had already been reported by Captain J.E. Alexander in 1838 the Lion river mass was among the first, if not the first Gibeon meteorite ever, that was scientifically analyzed in the US.
Shepard points out that his discoveries of unoxidyzed elements in meteorites back up the theory of Baron von Reichenbach that meteorites are “miniature representatives of the larger planetary bodies, differing from them only in magnitudes”. In the following Shepard describes the Iowa meteoritic stone which was seen to fall Feb. 25, 1847. The below image shows the drawing by R. Bakewell that was produced on Shepard’s behalf because of the “uncommon completenss and perfection of form of this stone”.
Eine Leitform der Meteoriten. Von W. Haidinger
Wirklichem Mitgliede der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mit 2 Tafeln. Aus dem XL. Bande des Jahrganges 1860 der Sitzungsberichte der mathem.-naturwissenschaftlichen Classe. Wien 1860
In his remarkable work, and by referring to earlier papers of Kenngott and Reichenbach, Haidinger draws a line from the physics of the meteoritic flight to shape and surface texture of individual meteoritic masses. In contradiction to other scientists of his time he comes to the conclusion that stone meteorites are already in their final shape and certainly cold when passing through the last several kilometers of earth’s atmosphere. “Leitform der Meteoriten” provides a comprehensive description of the processes responsible for shaping meteoritic rocks during the hot phase of the flight. The paper was among the first publications on this particular subject and suggests several ideas on fragmentation processes of meteorites that are accepted by science until present.
On the basis of examples from the Stannern and the Gross-Divina meteorite falls, Haidinger describes the conditions under which certain meteorites can maintain a stable or semi-stable flight. The two plates picturing these oriented stones belong to the premium examples of the genre. The grade of detail in reflection of light and plasticity of surface texture of these colored drawings remained superior to any kind of photographical approach for more than hundred years. In fact the first photographical reproductions of meteorites in the last quarter of the 19th century meant a major step backwards for the depiction of meteoritic masses in science and literature.