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Ornans

France, Doubs
Fell july 11, 1868
CO3.4 carbonaceous chondrite
Total mass : about 6 kg

Specimen in collection :
3.42 g slice

On July 11, 1868, around 7.15 pm, the inhabitants of Ornans and surrounding heard four shots separated by relatively long intervals. Then ten successive detonations briefly. A whistle was also heard in many villages around : Chantrans, Vuillafans, Cléron, Montgesoue, so that the inhabitants believed that the Prussians bombarded Salins.

Ten minutes after the first blast, at a place called La-Raie-de-Coutaule, located southwest of Ornans, two farm workers and also Mr Coulet and Mr Roussel, a baker, were suddenly overthrown by the fall of a black mass about sixty meters from them. They approached and then discovered the stone, still warm, broken in two pieces during the impact. It dug a hole in the ground twenty-eight centimeters deep and of a diameter of twenty-one centimeters. The two fragments weighed 6.05 kg and were entrusted to Mr Jules Marcou, who gave them to the famous painter Gustave Courbet. The latter carried a part of the meteorite to Paris where he gave it to Mr Pisani (Museum of Natural History of Paris) who made the first analysis. He published in September of the same year the results of its study.

It is interesting to note that the meteorite of Ornans paradoxically looks like very few other members of its class! It has a color matrix of a “gray mouse” instead of a deeper black color commonly encountered in others CO. It is also very porous – “it nevertheless absorbed up to a tenth of its weight in water,” according to the report of the Academy of Sciences -, where other carbonacrous chondrites are more compact and solid. Very friable, the meteorite of Ornans is easily reduced to powder, lightly gripped between the fingers. Prudence therefore. I advise you to keep it in a membrane box (boxes that can be purchased on the mineral fairs or online.

The meteorite of Ornans is the type-specimen of carbonaceous chondrites CO.

Additional information

Provenance

  • Bruno Fectay