Several professional Moroccan meteorite prospectors launched search campaigns immediately after the first reports of a fireball sighting spread. The terrain in the foothills of the High Atlas is challenging to say the least. Unlike the Hammadahs and Serirs of the Sahara desert, it can not be searched by car due to steep ravines, boulder fields and numerous canyons and dry riverbeds with steep cliffs.
It took the distinguished hunters two weeks to locate the first fragments by the help of local villagers. On January 3, 2009 A. Habibi reported the first chondritic finds on the Meteorite Central mailing list. Fragments were sent to scientific institutions and distributed among collectors only days later under the synonyms “Taliouine”, “Ticka” “Tamdakhte” and “Tamdaght”.
The weather in the strewn field did change in the second week of January, from a dry cold to slight rain and storm. Thus search and preservation conditions for the meteorites still out in the field had worsened. While the first few reported finds displayed no or only minimal signs of oxidation, the finds from the end of January already show some rust halos around the iron aggregates visible on fractured surfaces.
As the number of recovered fragments went from two to ten it became clear that the bolide had fragmented and produced a strewn field. Many of the reassembled masses show angular shapes indicating that they stem from a larger mother body detonated in flight. The explosion sounds reported by the eye witnesses support the idea of one ore multiple fragmentations. Individual specimens of the Tamdakht meteorite show a thick (0.7 – 1.1 mm) fusion crust, indicating that the ablation process must have continued until well after the fragmentation. However, no eye witness did report having seen multiple fireballs. The fusion crust of the Tamdakht meteorites shows a rough, vesicular texture and often displays bubbles in the submilimeter scale.