Tough enough to withstand the cold

The muonionalusta meteorite was first discovered in 1906 by some children, who were kicking rocks around and happened upon a particularly heavy, metallic piece which they took home.

Muonionalusta is an area of northern Sweden, which is within the Arctic Circle, and the place where the children found the 'rock' is near the village of Kitkiöjärvi. That piece and others have since been shown to be parts of a Class IVA octahedrite.

Octahedrites are a type of iron meteorite, and iron meteorites are relatively rare compared to rocky meteorites.

Muonionalusta meteorites are regarded by those who've compared them with other comparable meteorites as often being particularly beautiful, notably with respect to the etching patterns, but perhaps being somewhat delicate.

Muonionalusta octahedrite iron meteorite
Muonionalusta octahedrite

Now a 9.3kg piece has appeared at a Bonhams auction in London. The piece, shaped like a hatchet or possibly a hand with a pointing finger, has been estimated at £5,000-7,000. It may represent a good investment, if other comparable pieces have a tendency to break apart.

A much more modest lot is a 2.25kg fragment of the Campo del Cielo Argentinian octahedrite which is estimated at a modest £600-800. A vast piece of the same meteorite (130kg) fetched €31,249 ($45,325) at a Paris auction late last year.

The auction takes place in London on January 20. Meteorite fanatics may be looking to Heritage's auction first, however, as that takes place this Sunday in Texas and offers a wider range of pieces.


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Image: Bonhams

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