Nakhla Meteorite: Egypt, *1911

Nakhla meteorite largest specimen

The Nakhla meteorite has a number of claims to fame. ┬áIt is one of the rare specimens which have been shown to originate from the planet Mars – and a witnessed fall, one of only 5 martian falls – Chassigny, Shergotty, Nakhla, Zagami and Tissint. (Interestingly, there are no witnessed falls of lunar material. )

It is the type specimen for the Nakhlite class of martian meteorites.

Perhaps most famously, however, is the report that one of the fragments struck and killed a dog. There is little evidence to support this claim however, and the report on the attached page describes this as “the product of a lively imagination” (!)

Here is an article describing the circumstances of the fall of the Nakhla meteorite, its chemical and petrological composition. There are also interesting notes about the state of meteorite classification in 1912 – including the deduction that Nakhla represented a new class – and the origin of meteorites. The author, John Ball, discusses options ranging from divine miracle, to ejecta from the sun or moon, to the result of terrestrial volcano eruptions.



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