HISTORIC METEORITES 1: Switzerland, Germany, Austria.

NEW! NHM Bern: Meteorites from Oman
HISTORIC METEORITES 1: Switzerland, Germany, Austria.
HISTORIC METEORITES 2: France: 1492-1841
HISTORIC METEORITES 3: France: 1842-1934
HISTORIC METEORITES 4: England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland.
HISTORIC METEORITES 6: Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Norway.
HISTORIC METEORITES 7: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, Ukraine
HISTORIC METEORITES 8: Romaina, Serbia, Croatia, Estonia, Bosnia-Herzeg.
H. H. NININGER and Canyon Diablo
From MOON and MARS
Libyan Desert Glass
Meteorites from Antarctica
The Allende Meteorite (Mexico)
The Hoba Meteorite (Namibia)
Ensisheim Meteorite 2009 part 1
Ensisheim Meteorite 2009 part 2
Ensisheim 2011

Historic Meteorites 

RAFRÜTI (Switzerland) 1886

Rafrüti Iron UNGR; Switzerland, found in 1886, 14.9 g with label, micro photo (160x) and analysis.

Rafrüti, Switzerland, close-up

Rafrüti, back-side, very likely cut by hand;-)...provenance: ETH, Zurich

Old picture of the Rafrüti meteorite and the finders, Mr. and Mrs. Zürcher

View to Unter Rafrüti (3 houses w. huge roofs). Photo taken 28 July 2007.

UTZENSTORF (Switzerland) 1928

Utzenstorf H5; Bern, Switzerland, fell 1928, 8.731 g

My favorite chondrite is without doubt the Utzenstorf H5 chondrite which fell in 1928 August 16 at 19:00 hrs during a thunderstorm. Utzenstorf is only 20 kilometers from Bern where I live and is only 5 kilometers from where I work ... so, from my workplace I can almost see the field where it fell about 80 years ago. On impact the stone broke into 3 pieces, totaling 3422 grams. They where discovered and recovered eleven days after the fall during fieldwork and then brought to the Natural History Museum in Bern where the main mass still resides today.

You find pieces of the Utzenstorf meteorite only in a very few museums and in less than half a dozen private collections worldwide. I was able to get the last two pieces - 7.5 and 8.7 grams - that were traded with a French collector before the museum decided that it is no longer possible to trade Swiss meteorites.

The Utzenstorf meteorite is - until today - the last observed meteorite fall in Switzerland... so the next one is overdue ...

Utzenstorf H5; Switzerland, fell 1928, 7.5 g w. orig. NHM Bern label

Front side of the Utzenstorf meteorite with flow lines. The left part was used for analyses.

This part of the small village hasn't changed much since the meteorite fall in 1928!

TWANNBERG (Switzerland) 1984

Twannberg IIG, Bern, Switzerland, found 1984, 28.1 g (cut from mass I)

In 1984 a farmer from the Twannberg region (near Bern, Switzerland) called Mr. Rolf Buehler (Swiss Meteorite Lab) and told him that he had found a rather weird and very heavy stone in a barley field while ploughing. Mr. Buehler checked the stone and found out that it was an iron meteorite of 15,915 kg. It was classified as an ungrouped iron until the year 2000 when Guanaco was found in the Atacama desert in Chile. Guanaco was the fifth member of a compositional grouplet formerly known as the Bellsbank Quartet: Bellsbank, La Primitiva, Tombigbee River and Twannberg. Guanaco provided the missing part to establish a new iron chemical group, and Dr. John T. Wasson proposed, that this new iron group be given the designation IIG.

In 2000 Marc Jost was in the attic of a friends house in Twann. Before he left the attic, he noticed a strange rusty iron piece of about 2 kilos on top of a wall. The owner of the house told Marc to keep it. So he kept it for some time and he even took it with him when he went to the nearby pub for a beer. Marc showed the iron to his colleagues and told them that he had found a meteorite and everybody had a good laugh. One day Marc decided to call the Natural History Museum in Bern (NMBE). Dr. Beda Hofmann, head of the Earth Sciences Department, answered the phone. Marc Jost told his story and Dr. Hofmann was quite sure to hear another story of a meteorwrong. At the end of the short conversation Mr. Hofmann said: By the way, where are you calling from? Marc answered: From Twann! Mr. Hofmann asked quickly for Marcs address and less than an hour later the doorbell rang and Mr. Hofmann stood in front of Marcs house. Marcs iron was indeed the Twannberg II mass of 2246 grams!

Mass III (2533 g) was identified in September 2005 in a rock and mineral collection deposited at NMBE as a permanent loan from the Museum Schwab, Biel, Switzerland, where the sample was originally labelled as hematite many years ago. Both secondary find places are in the vicinity (3.5 and 5 km distance) of the original find locality. The majority of the original mass (10,536 of 15,915 g) and both newly recovered masses are located at NMBE. The total known mass of Twannberg now is 20,694 g.
Twannberg: Pieces of the masses II and III...and of the three new masses, found in 2007!

...and the story goes on: In 2007 two prospectors found three small pieces of iron in the region of Twannberg. Analyses by Dr. B. Hofmann (Natural History Museum, Bern) confirmed that they were indeed pieces of the Twannberg meteorite (weights: 48.695 g (mass IV), 14.165 g (mass V), and 12.655 g (mass VI). 
Weights of the Twannberg pieces in the PMMC (pictured above) are as follows: off Mass II: 1.064 g, mass III: 2.595 g, mass IV: 2.757 g, mass V: 0.756 g and mass VI: 0.503 g.

STEINBACH (Germany) 1724

Steinbach IVA-anomalous, silicate inclusions, found in 1724 in Germany, 5.0 g.

The Steinbach meteorite was found in 1824. It has a unique, anomalous composition. Later two additional masses had been found:

Found 1833. The siderolite of Rittersgrün.

The Rittersgrün meteorite was found in 1833 (...) by a workman employed in clearing the forest, and offered for sale as old iron to a smith, but without success; but in 1861 it came to the notice of the lamented Professor Breithaupt, and was secured for the mineral collection of the Bergakademie, of Freiberg. It‘s mean diameter is 0.43 metre, and its weight 86.5 kilogrammes. It has recently been sawn through in Vienna, a troublesome and costly labour extending over two months. (History of Meteorites. Part II. Digest of Memoirs and Notices published during the years 1869-75).

Steinbach, cut from the Rittersgrün mass, 2.4 g, with nice green Enstatite inclusion!

From the same source:

Found 1861. Breitenbach, Bohemia.

This remarkable siderolite was found in Bohemia, at a spot not very far distant from the Saxon frontier or indeed from Rittersgrün in Saxony, where a mass closely resembling it was (...) found. At Steinbach, a village about midway between Breitenbach and Rittersgün, a meteorite in all respects similar was discovered; the three masses are so similar to one another and so dissimilar to any others preserved in collections that there can be little doubt that they belong to the same fall.

EICHSTÄDT (Germany) 1785

Eichstädt H5; Germany; fell 1785, 0.4 g w. old text

Copy of old (undated) letter describng the Eichstädt meteorite fall (original letter: ETH, Zurich)

Authentische Nachricht über den Stein, der von den Lüften in dem Eichstättischen herabgefallen ist.

Wittmeß ist eine Waldgegend etwa 2 Stund von Eichstätt, wo sich eine Ziegelhütte befindet. Hier fiel im Jahre 1785 den 19ten Febr. nach 12 Uhr ein Stein von der Luft herab.(...)

Der Knecht des Zieglers schnitt eben oben im Stadel Stroh, als er einen Donner hörte, so als wenn stark hintereinander etwa drey, oder viermal geschossen wurde, sammt einem besonderen Getöse, das ihn anderst, als bey sonst sich ereignenden Hochgewitter vorkam. Er lief herab, und als er unten zur Thüre hinkam,/also nach einer Weile von 2 oder 3 Minuten / sah er eben den Stein herabfallen, 7 oder 8 Schuhe weg von der Ziegelhütte, in den Schnee über die unten liegende zerstreute Ziegel, die er zerschlug, eine Handbreit tief hinein. Der Stein war sehr warm, und zerschmölzte den Schnee. In diesem musste ihn der Knecht abkühlen lassen, bis er ihn halten konnte.(...) (Text transcribed by Jürgen Nauber, Zurich)

POHLITZ (Germany) 1819

Pohlitz L5 vnd.; Germany, fell 1819 October 13, 0.860 g (ex coll. Prof. P. Scalisi).


LINUM (Germany) 1854

Linum L6; fell in Germany 1854 Sept. 5, TKW: 1.86 kg; 9.295 g, ex J. Schwade coll.

Linum L6; Germany, fell 1854 Sept.5, 2.35 g, ex Jim Schwade coll.

BREMERVÖRDE (Germany) 1855

Fall of Meteoric Stones. - A fall of meteoric stones took place near Bremervorde a short distance from Hamburg, on the 13th of May, at 5 o'clock, P.M. It took place during a storm accompanied by thunder and lightning. A number of the stones have been found. One of them weighted nearly 7 lbs., another 3 1/3 lbs., a third two-thirds of a pound. They were covered with black crust apparently the effect of fusion. In the fracture, the stone has a gray color, and shows several minerals, among which there is a large quantity of native iron and pyrites.

(From: American Journal of Science and Arts (2nd series); Volume 21.,1856).

Bremervörde H/L3.9 br., Germany, 1855 May 13, 3.5 g

MENOW (Germany) 1862
Menow H4; Germany; fell 1862 Oct. 7, 1.9 g, prov. Nat. hist. Museum, London (BM)

KRÄHENBERG (Germany) 1869 

Krähenberg LL5; fell 1869 May 5 in Germany; cut piece 0.190 g.

1869, May 5th, 6.32 p.m. - Krähenberg, near Zweibrücken, Rheinish Bavaria.

A single stone was seen to fall, the sky being clear and bright. The noise of  the explosion is described as having been louder than that of a cannon; this was followed by one resembling a roll of musketry, termination with a sound as of the rushing of steam from a locomotive; the tone of the last sound increased in pitch, and abruptly ended with another loud noise. Although no luminous phenomena were observed at Krähenberg, a meteor was seen at Bingen, Speyer, Neuweiler, in Alsace, and in other parts, which observers agree in describing as emitting an intensly white light; one witness, who saw it in the zenith, states that the light was bluish. (...) Van Rath states that the stone fell from a small cloud. A little girl was within a few paces of the spot where it struck the earth, on the slope of a hill facing the S.E.; it entered the ground to a depth of three to four feet, making a perfectly vertical hole. It was soon dug out, and when brought to the village was warm, but not hot.

From: HISTORY OF METEORITES, Part I. Digest of Memoirs and Notices published during the years 1869-75.

IBBENBÜREN (Germany) 1870

Ibbenbüren Diogenite; Germany; fell 1870, 1.4 g

Ibbenbühren, Germany, 1870, June 17, 2 P.M. (local time).
"The principal meteorite, weighing 2 1/2 lbs., struck the earth some distance from a countryman who heard it fall, and, when passing by the same place two days afterwards, observed the hole where it had penetrated the earth of a well-trodden footpath to a depth of 2 1/2 feet. It was almost uninjured, being covered, except at some corners, by the usual black crust.

It was brought, several months after its discovery, to Dr. Heis at Münster, by whom some of the particulars attending its fall are related. A lightning-like flash, followed in about one minute by thunder, preceeded the fall of the stone, which was heard stricking the earth about three minutes after the flash. A small fragment, weighing about 1 oz., was found 300 or 400 paces from the larger stone; and no other fragments (the ground having since been tilled) could be afterward discovered.

The black crust is dull and extremely thin, its rippled texture and penetration into fine crevices of the stone being only discernible by means of magnifying lens. As seen at the fractures, the interior mass is greyish white, compact, and contains no grains of metallic iron (which, with chrome-iron, are absent in the meteorite), but interspersed yellowish crystalline grains, generally minute, but at one of the exposed surfaces reaching to 1/4 inch, and even to 1 inch in diameter. The microscopic sections show that this structure is continuous, the whole mass being composed of the same crystalline ingredients in larger or smaller grains."

(Reports of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1873)

MAUERKIRCHEN (Austria) 1768

Mauerkirchen L6; Austria, fell 1768 November 20, 3.6 g (ex Coll. Karl, Germany)

Die Nachricht von dem Herabfallen eines Steines bei Mauerkirchen in Baiern am 20. Nov. 1768 entlehne ich aus einer kleinen Schrift: Nachricht und Abhandlung von einem in Baiern unweit Mauerkirchen d. 20. Nov. 1768 aus der Luft gefallenen Steine, Straubingen 1769, 8., welcher Herr Hofrath Blumenbach mir mitzutheilen die Güte hatte. Ausser dem Briefe aus dem Rentamte Burghausen, welcher die Erzählung selbst enthält, findet sich darin nicht viel Bemerkenswerthes. In dem Brief heisst es:

"Den 20. Nov. Abends nach 4 Uhr, bei einem gegen Occident merklich verfinsterten Himmel, hörten zu Mauerkirchen verschiedene ehrliche Leute, welche darüber eidlich vernommen worden, ein ungewöhnliches Brausen und gewaltiges Krachen in der Luft, gleich einem Donner und Schiessen mit Stücken. Unter diesem Luftgetümmel fiel ein Stein aus der Luft in des Georg Bart, Söldners, Feld herab. Dieser Stein machte, nach obrigkeitlichem Augenscheine, eine Grube 2 1/2 Schuh tief in die Länge, ist 6 Zoll breit und wiegt 38 baierische Pfunde. Er ist von einer so weichen Materie, dass er sich mit Fingern zerreiben lässt. Die Farbe davon ist bläulich mit einem weissen Flusse oder Fliesserleim vermengt, ausserdem ist er mit einer schwarzen Rinde überzogen, etc."

Diese Beschreibung lässt vermuten, dass der Stein anderen solchen meteorischen Massen sehr ähnlich seyn müsse.

(Aus: E.F.F.Chladni, Annalen der Physik; Band 15, 1803)