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Murchison

Australia
Fell september 28, 1969 at 10.58 am
CM2 carbonaceous chondrite
Total mass > 100 kg

Specimen in collection :
42.6g individual (98% crusted)

On Sunday, september 28, 1969 at 10:58, a meteor shower hit the small town of Murchison, about 80 km north of Melbourne, Australia. The passage of the meteor was seen from Canberra 360 km north or from Muldura, 410 km west. According to witnesses, it was moving southeast to northwest. The meteor looked like an orange fireball, very bright, followed by an orange cone behind it leaving in the air a blue smoke for one or two minutes.

The meteor fragmented into hundreds of small pieces which fell around Murchison ; the biggest weighed 7 kilograms. The strewnfield measures about 11 by 3.2 km, oriented along an axis southeast – northwest. It may be noted that a fragment slightly hit the roof of a shelter. Most specimens were collected by residents of the place and also by a team of students from the University of Melbourne, led by JF Lovering.

The Murchison meteorite is one of the most important for science. It contains about 2% of organic matter (more than 92 different amino acids were identified in it, of which 12 exist also on Earth !) and about 12% water. These amino acids formed in space. These are the foundations of all life. These organic compounds existed at the beginning of the formation of the solar system and probably played a major role in the emergence of life.

Additional information

Provenance

  • Matthew Martin