What is the Allende meteorite

Allende meteorite - fire in the sky: 50 years ago a meteorite burst over Mexico

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On February 8, 1969, it rained debris from space: a meteorite shattered over Mexico. The largest of its kind ever found on earth.

The town of Valle de Allende in the south in the Mexican province of Chihuaha is a household name for scientists around the world. Here the huge meteorite crashed to earth.

In a report in the local newspaper Cambio 16 de Chihuaha, the director of the community center of Valle de Allende recalls February 8, 1969:

“It was 1 o'clock in the morning. Something extraordinary happened. An object appeared in the firmament. It sank down from the sky, splattering fire and shrinking as it went. It rained debris from space. The particles were distributed over the communities of Valle de Allende. The meteorite originally weighed between four and seven tons when it entered the atmosphere. "

Tons of rubble

Within less than 24 hours, scientists from the USA and Russia were on site to collect the parts. That was a few months before the Apollo 11 crew brought rock samples from the moon. The space fever was in full swing.

In the Mexican desert, neither brush nor walls blocked the view. This quickly resulted in several tons of rubble. Many residents of Valle de Allende knew little or nothing about it. They thought it was radioactive stones or they hadn't even noticed the debris.

An ancient guest from heaven

The scientists, on the other hand, were eager to collect and analyze the remains of the meteorite. They called it the "Allende meteorite" and took parts of it to the US space agency NASA.

Less than three months later, NASA reported: “The Allende meteorite is one of the oldest objects to have ever fallen from the sky. An indication of this is the high proportion of calcium and aluminum in the rock. "

Just past the post office

The debris of the Allende meteorite is now in museums, institutes or in private ownership.

But something else counts for the residents of Valle de Allende: Nobody was harmed when the meteorite hit. Even if a chunk just missed the local post office.

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