observed fall in Mexico
What is Allende?
The Allende meteorite is the largest known carbonaceous chondrite meteor to fall to Earth. Rocketing to Earth in the morning of February 8, 1969, the meteor generated enough light and sound to draw the attention of numerous onlookers across Northern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. The fireball eventually exploded into thousands of pieces, which fell across a vast expanse of land near the town of Pueblito de Allende in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Luckily, Allende is also one of the most studied because of its perfect timing. Apollo 11 mission was heading to the moon! Researchers from several institutions utilized the new clean-labs that were developed in anticipation of the lunar samples they would receive.
Allende (its official name, by the way) is categorized as a CV3.2ox meteorite and is known for its abundance of high-temperature, refractory calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs). Appearing as distinct white blebs in hand-sample, the CAIs have an enchanting history.
Every CAI measured has the same age of ~4,568.2 Ga, meaning they represent the earliest solar system! They are composed of refractory minerals, such as melilite, anorthite, perovskite, and spinel, which form at very high temperatures, upwards of 1700K. What’s more is that they compositionally match the theoretical first condensates of the solar nebula. This is basically our sun’s composition, minus the hydrogen and helium.
Makes us want to put on our Dark Side of the Moon album and let our imagination run free while we look through the microscope.
Under the Microscope
Our first Allende design focuses on the CAIs, since Mandi went gang-busters over sharing the wonders of the early solar system. Our Allende CAI design shows the fine-grained minerals clustered as irregular shapes within a dark matrix of carbonaceous material.
The muted appearance of these clusters in transmitted, cross-polarized light is an understatement to the wonders within. The design elements remain primitive and basic with occasional pops of color from surrounding chondrules.
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