"La Mancha" Spain

Fell May 10, 2007 at ~8:00 PM.

(Achondrite, Eucrite, brecciated)

Total known weight ~380 grams.

 

At ~8:00 pm, a bright fireball was seen over central Spain, heading from south to north. The fireball was nearly as bright as the sun, and was seen from hundreds of miles away as far as Barcelona and Seville. It came down in a corkscrew fashion, and exploded several times causing loud sonic booms. After weeks of interviewing witnesses and photographs, the general fall location was established in central Spain. A German meteorite hunter, Thomas Graul, spent more than two weeks on the ground, and finally in the first week of June, found the first piece of the La Mancha meteorite. It was not only a great new European fall, it was an Achondrite!

The La Mancha meteorite exploded into hundreds of pieces, and showered stones over a known strewnfield of at least 5 kilometers long. Unfortunately the strewnfield is complete comprised of olive and grape fields, 90% of which have been plowed since the fall, and almost all of the meteorites have been lost or destroyed. A true tragedy since it is one of the most beautiful meteorites I have ever seen.

I did and expedition to the strewnfield in Spain for 10 days in September 2007, and fond 10 meteorites myself, our group as a whole found 32 meteorites. All pieces are small, the largest being only 9.8 grams.


 

Los "Tres Amigos", from left to right, Robert Ward, Michael Farmer, and Moritz Karl, standing in the center of the
La Mancha strewnfield, one of the few unplowed places left to find meteorites.
 
 
Here is a spectacular La Mancha meteorite weighing 5.555 grams in situ as I found it. These stones are very hard to see as they are very small, and the olive groves where the strewnfield is are full of thousands of old dried olives on the ground, which look exactly like the meteorites. The hunting days are mostly spent bending over picking up dried olives, not meteorites!
 
 
This is the haul from one of our best days, meteorites found by Robert Ward, Michael Farmer, and Moritz Karl. What a cosmic treasure!
 

This photo shows my 10th and last La Mancha meteorite in situ as found. It has been sitting quietly for four months, waiting to be rescued from the elements.

 

 
This photo almost needs no description does it? I mean really, where have you ever seen a Eucrite with fusion crust this glassy? I only know of one, Serra de Mage, which fell in Brazil in 1923. The fusion crust on this meteorites is the stuff that my dreams are made of. You can see the glass full of bubbles, which looks like it is still wet. This stone weighs 4.07 grams and will never leave my collection.
 

Here is another view of the same 4.07 gram stone, the front side showing orientation with long flow lines. Note the large flow line which goes from the left to right over the entire surface of the meteorite!

This is a 5.55 gram stone, my second favorite meteorite, completely covered in glassy fusion crust. You can see through the crust, and see the white and black matrix inside.  Note the cooling contraction crack and flowing in the crust.

Here is a photo of the backside of the same 5.55 gram meteorite. Note the sharp flow of crust at the top, many of the meteorites have that sort of sharp edge and many long points or needles of sharp fusion crust. It is amazing that they could fall and not break off.