Source: Geological Magazine, 1896 pp531, 532


Mr J R Gregory


During a recent visit to South Africa I was staying a few days at Colesberg, some 600 miles up the country, when I accidently heard from a trader, who had just returned from some distance beyond the Great Orange River, that Captain Nicolas Waterboer, the Griqua chief, had a meteoric stone. Now, it is frequently the case when you hear of an aerolite in this manner, that some considerable doubt arises as to whether it really is a true meteorite or an imagined one; however, as I was now on my way up the country in that direction, I took note of the report and resolved to satisfy myself as to its being a genuine one.

After three weeks or more, on my arrival in Griqua town, I found out that the report of this stone was quite correct, and I obtained the following particulars from the Rev. James Good, the Missionary at Griqua Town. It was brought to him on or about the 1st of April this year by a Griqua who saw it fall near his hut on March 20, 1868, who said it smelt strong of sulphur, and was warm when he picked it up. It fell at Daniels Kuil, in Griqua territory, about two days journey NNE of Griqua Town, and was brought into the town by the native who saw it fall and who offered it to Mr. Good, who, not being much interested in it, told the man to take it home again with him; the man, however, gave it to Captain Waterboer from whom I obtained it.

This meteorite is of small size, weighing only 2 lbs. 5 oz. and was the only one seen to fall. It contains a very large amount of free iron disseminated evenly through it, together with Troilite, Schreibersite, etc. This stone contains more iron than any other I have seen, but in a very fine state of division. It is of a dark greyish colour with a fine granular texture, speckled with small brown patches, owing to the alteration of the iron present; most of the iron seen on the broken surface of the interior of the stone is in extremely minute points, which glitter like the broken surface of a piece of sandstone. Frequently in meteoric stones there appears to be small roundish grains, sometimes so abundant as to give the stone an Oolitic character; this is not apparent in this specimen.

The crust on the outer surface is of a dull blackish colour, and immediately below, for a thickness of perhaps one-eighth of an inch, the stone is browner in colour than the rest of the interior, owing to partial alteration. When this aerolite came into my hands it was broken into two parts, and the fractured surfaces were very much altered, the iron being much oxidized, thus rendering the stone much browner than at a fresh fracture.

Professor A. H. Church has very kindly analyzed it with the following  results:

Density: 3.657

Nickel-Iron: 29.72  (contains: Fe. 94.72, Ni. 5.18)

Troilite: 6.02

Schreibersite: 1.59

Silica and Silicates: 61.53

Oxygen, other substances, and loss: 1.14

Total: 100.00

The meteorite gives off sulphuretted hydrogen when treated with acid. I have just succeeded in obtaining a cast of the stone in plaster of Paris, which, being coloured, is a perfect facsimile of the whole meteorite as it fell.

It is remarkable, considering the large extent of country now being much travelled over, even for a very great distance, that so few meteoritic stones or irons are found in that part of the globe. India has of late years produced a large number, some 40 or 50, while in the Southern portion of Africa some 7 or 8 are all that we know of.