Pjotr shook his head in disbelief while Ivan, eyes wide open, forgot to put his dropped jaw back in standard position. “How much will it weigh?” Pjotr finally wanted to know. “I have no idea brother. Eighteen at least, twenty perhaps, maybe thirty kilos” I guessed. We’ll have to see how much of it is below the surface.
I shot a couple of photos, but none did the find any justice. Thomas painstakingly recorded the documentation on video. It took us more than an hour to document the find, record coordinates, to take soil samples and search the closer surrounding for eventual fragments. Pjotr handed me two more chips of 30 and 10 g respectively, which he had found several meters away down the slope.
Then all stood and waited for me to lift the meteorite off the gravel. It was hot like a burner. And heavy it was, sticking firmly in the soil. The picture with the folks waiting for me to pull the giant meteorite from the ground brought a passage from the Gilgamesh Epic to my mind. Apparently, more than 4,500 years ago the Babylonian ruler grappled with similar problems:
“From the starry heaven
a meteorite fell next to me.
I tried to lift it
but it was too mighty for me,
I tried to turn it over
but I could not budge it.
The land of Uruk was standing around it,
the whole land had assembled about it,
mighty men clustered about it.
Then I bore it and carried it to thee.”
Sand trickled from the regmaglypts as it came off the ground and as I balanced it on the cardboard cushion Thomas had prepared. About ten centimetres of its lower portion had been embedded, fortunately with no obvious signs of chemical weathering. It was not possible to determine an approximate terrestrial residence time of the meteorite without measurement of cosmic radionuclides, but obviously it had withstood the ravages of time outstandingly.
Now that the rock was fully exposed we could admire its entire build. It was anvil shaped and one large corner had sheared off along a pre existing shock plane as if cut with a knife. Closer inspection revealed that this surface too was coated with thin fusion crust, thus this final break up had still occurred during the hot flight.
The fusion rind of the embedded portion was pristine with even the delicate webbing of contraction cracks still in place. Not even the slightest scratch was visible. Thus it could never have been the impacting face of such a mass. On contrast, on the other, exposed side it showed obvious damages where several notches were broken from an edge and chips of fusion crust were missing. This was a more likely candidate for an impacting face.