Famenin Hammer – Update #2

When looking at the crust of the Famenin hammer one of the first things that you notice is that there appear to be little flakes of shiny metal on some of the pieces. Poke and prod at them a bit and you soon realize that they’re only lightly stuck to the surface. At first, I thought that they were somehow bits of the aluminum foil that they were wrapped in. But then, after thinking about it, I realized that they’re actually bits of the roofing material that stuck to the stone on impact. Look a bit closer and you also see ‘fuzzy stuff’ (yes, a technical term) that is apparently also from the roofing material. Very cool!

An update (#1) on the Famenin hammerstone…

As was mentioned in an earlier post, the Famenin meteorite fell on the 27th of June at 8:30 in the morning. Soon after the discovery of the hammerstone on the roof, reports made their way to the Iranian news outlets. A piece was given to the University of Tehran who then fowarded it to CEREGE (France) for identification and typing. After the initial work, which included magnetic susceptibility measurements and petrography, it was thought that the stone may be an L chondrite (although the susceptibility was on the high end for an L, they said). Further work with electron microprobe indicated that it’s type was actually an H/L3 (hence the higher susceptibility, I presume).

Looking at a broken surface, it is clear why this meteorite earns a low petrographic grade. In places, the chondrules are large and appear to be falling out of the matrix. Even without a thin section, this meteorite offers up a lot of details with a blush of colour becoming apparent under magnification. Upon showing some of the pictures to a geologist colleague, her initial comment was that, “it’s a petrographers dream!” As a geophysicist, I sometimes have trouble understanding why the ‘other G’ gets so excited by rocks. But, this is a case where I find myself wanting to spend too much time behind a microscope.

Lots of interesting work is being planned for this meteorite in the future so, watch this space for updates!

July 30th, 2015 – The Moshampa Fall

Just about a month after the Famenin fall, a startling event occurred a couple of hundred km to the north. At about 20:10 local time, a large fireball was observed by many people to rip across the sky, leaving a dust cloud in its wake and meteorites (at least one, anyway) on the ground. The event was reported to have at least 4 bursts (we’ve confirmed this on infrasound data) and the sonic booms were heard and felt by many across the region. In the towns closest to the fall, witnesses reported windows breaking and the ground shaking. Very exciting for thousands of witnesses!


One of the people who witnessed the event was a farmer standing at the edge of one of his fields. As he watched the fireball burst, he reached for his phone to take a picture but was, unfortunately, too late. He then heard the sonic booms and, finally, a ‘sjoop!’ noise. This last noise is, apparently, the sound that a meteorite makes as it buries itself in your moist field because that’s what he found – a 2kg meteorite buried in his field. After hearing the ‘sjoop,’ he went over to investigate a fresh pit that had appeared in his field not too far away from where he was standing. After a bit of digging, there it was. The fourth meteorite documented to fall in Iran.

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June 27th, 2015…

Proposed Name: Famenin
Location: Famenin, Iran
Type: H/L3 (provisional)
Total Known Weight: ca. 700g

On June 27th, 2015 at 8:30am in the town of Famenin, Iran a gentleman was startled by the loud noise of something hitting his house. Not sure what it was, he went out and surveyed the area. What he found on his flat cement-based roof surprised him. A hole and large fragments of a rock that appeared to be charred on the outside. That rock, as it turns out, is the remnants of a small H/L3 chondrite fall.

Soon after the fall, details of the event were publicized on Iranian TV and a piece was given to the University of Tehran who sent the rock for identification to CEREGE in France. From their initial studies, Hamedan is an L chondrite…

Since the initial 455g find on the roof, fragments of the hammer stone were found scattered up to 10’s of metres away. Roughly 120g bounced onto the neighbour’s side of the roof while another 32g fragment had, apparently entered another neighbour’s apartment through an open window. So far, a search of the local area has not yielded additional material from this fall.

One of the largest fragments recovered will soon be sent off for cosmogenic nuclide work which, we hope, will tell us something about the preatmospheric size of the parent meteoroid among other things. CT scanning and petrography of some of the pieces is also being planned which, judging from the large-scale heterogeneities seen in some of the pieces, should be interesting.

For a chance to own a piece of this interesting hammer stone, check out our sale page.